At Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL, we are passionate about helping our clients keep their mouths as healthy as possible. Practicing good dental hygiene regularly goes a long way in preventing oral pain and other problems, but sometimes serious problems occur, and a visit with an endodontist is necessary. Keep reading if you’re interested in discovering when endodontics is right for you.
When Should You See an Endodontist?
Typically, people schedule appointments with an endodontist after they sustain a tooth injury. However, endodontics can be helpful in more cases than tooth injuries. For instance, an endodontist can help you if your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures or if you are experiencing swelling around your face, gums, or teeth. Other signs of an endodontic problem include:
- Tender gums
- Tenderness when biting
- Tenderness when chewing
- Tooth discoloration
- Nearby lymph node pain
How Can an Endodontist Help Me?
If you are experiencing discomfort in your teeth, gums, or face, the cause may be inner tooth damage. An endodontist can help you by performing endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is an ideal solution for inner tooth damage because it saves the natural tooth. If you opt for a root canal, you don’t have to worry about replacing one or more of your teeth.
What Are the Consequences of Forgoing a Root Canal?
There are a number of very serious complications that may arise if you need a root canal but do not get one. It is imperative that you have infected pulp removed from an infected tooth because if you don’t, the infection can spread.
What Causes Inner Tooth Damage?
When it comes to endodontic problems, bacterial infections are the leading cause. This type of infection occurs when tiny fissures in the teeth allow the tooth pulp to be invaded by bacteria. Some of the most common signs of a bacterial infection include the formation of abscesses and moderate or severe inflammation.
Fractures and Chips
Fractures and chips can also result in moderate or severe damage to the inner tooth. Root canal therapy is generally recommended when a significant portion of the crown or surface of the tooth has been separated from the tooth completely.
If you chip or fracture a tooth, you should strongly consider endodontics immediately. This is because if you are missing part of the crown of your tooth, some of your tooth pulp is exposed. This can cause debilitating pain and other problems.
Both direct and indirect blows to the mouth area can also result in damage to the inner tooth. If a facial injury is so severe that the tooth is dislodged from the socket, root canal therapy is usually the best course of action to correct the problem.
Inner tooth damage can also be caused when a tooth is removed from the socket completely. If this happens to you, there are a few things that you need to remember. First, remember that you should rinse the tooth thoroughly as soon as you can and try to put it back in the socket. If you can’t get the tooth back in its socket, place the tooth in milk. You should not store your tooth in water.
What Should I Expect Before My Endodontic Treatment?
The root canal process may take anywhere from one to three visits to complete. When it is time for your root canal to be performed, X-rays will be used to create a radiograph of the damaged tooth. After this is examined thoroughly, a local anesthetic will be injected into the targeted area, numbing it.
Once the tooth is numb, a dental dam, or small protective sheet, will be placed over the area. This dental dam serves a couple of purposes. First, it helps to keep the treatment area isolated. Second, it helps to ensure that the treatment area remains clean and free from saliva.
What Should I Expect During My Endodontic Treatment?
Once you are prepared for your root canal, an opening will be made in your tooth’s crown. Through this tiny opening, the pulp will be cleaned from the root canals and pulp chamber. After that, the space for the filling will be shaped, the root canals will be filled with a biocompatible material, sealed completely with an adhesive cement, and, often, the opening is closed with a temporary filling.
When you attend your final root canal appointment, a restoration, such as a crown, will be placed on the tooth. This restoration serves to restore full functionality to your tooth, protect it from further damage, and stop pain and sensitivity in their tracks.
Is a Crown Always Necessary?
No, a crown is not always necessary when saving a damaged tooth. The primary factor affecting whether you will need a crown is where in your mouth the damaged tooth is. The more a tooth is used for chewing, the more likely it is that you will need a crown. For instance, if a tooth in the back of your mouth, like a molar or premolar becomes damaged, you will probably need a crown. On the other hand, you may not need a crown for a canine or incisor.
What Aftercare Guidelines Should I Be Aware of?
You should know that you may not bite or chew on the damaged tooth until the restoration process is complete. The reason for this is that there is a significant chance that your tooth will fracture if it is subjected to an excessive amount of pressure. Beyond that, there’s not a lot you will need to do. It is important that your oral hygiene routine is good, but that is important regardless of whether you get a root canal. For instance, you’ll need to:
- Brush at least twice daily
- Floss at least twice daily
- Get two dental checkups annually
- Get two dental cleanings annually
What Should I Eat After a Root Canal?
It is a good idea to stick to soft foods that don’t require you to chew a lot after your root canal. Great foods to include in your recovery diet are fish, eggs, and yogurt. These foods are very high in protein, a vital macronutrient. It is a good idea to not eat anything hard while you are recovering from your root canal, and you may not want to eat anything hot. There is a chance that your tooth will be a bit sensitive to heat as it is recovering.
Applesauce is another solid choice. Note that it is generally advisable that you do not eat during the first few hours following your root canal. It will be safe for you to eat once the local anesthesia has worn off. If you want to eat shortly after your root canal, take great care to not bite your tongue or cheek. Foods that don’t require any chewing at all would be ideal.
How Long Can I Expect the Results of My Root Canal To Last?
Generally, you can expect that your other natural teeth and the endodontically treated tooth will have the same longevity. However, you should understand that individual results vary. In some cases, a follow-up root canal is required to maintain comfort and tooth health. Typically, it will be months or years before a follow-up root canal becomes necessary.
Why Would a Follow-Up Root Canal Become Necessary?
Usually, a follow-up root canal becomes necessary due to new trauma, extremely deep tooth decay, or a filling that becomes broken or cracked. These circumstances can result in a new tooth infection that seriously damages the treated tooth. A follow-up procedure is more likely if your root canals are very curved or narrow.
Can I Have Any Tooth Endodontically Treated?
Endodontics can only benefit people under certain circumstances. For example, you will not be able to have an endodontic treatment if your root canals are inaccessible, the root of the damaged tooth is fractured severely, the damaged tooth is beyond restoration, or the damaged tooth does not have enough bone support.
Schedule Your Endodontics Appointment Today
You should schedule an appointment with an endodontist if you are experiencing such problems as inflammation, pain, or sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures. If you think endodontics could benefit you, contact us now at Implant and Comprehensive Dentistry in Champions Gate, FL to schedule an appointment. Whether you are experiencing swollen gums, tooth sensitivity, or other mouth problems, we can help you.