Root Canal Therapy

A root canal is a natural cavity within the center of the tooth that has a soft pulp chamber housing your tooth’s nerve. Our Shelby Township dentists may recommend root canal therapy to save teeth that are badly decayed. They do this by removing the pulp and nerves and then sealing the cleaned area. Without treatment, infection and abscesses can form on the tissues surrounding your teeth. If you have an infected tooth it can be very painful and you should seek emergency dental care as soon as possible.

Signs that a root canal is needed:

  • A tooth’s color darkens
  • You experience severe tooth pain when chewing
  • Gum tissue near a tooth is swollen, sensitive, or pimpled
  • Heightened and prolonged hot or cold sensitivity
  • Nerve damage and other side effects

Damage to the nerve and pulp can come from decay, large fillings, cracks or chips in a tooth, and even trauma to your face. A tooth’s nerve function provides sensory responses to hot and cold temperatures. The removal of the nerve does not affect the primary functions of the tooth. When a tooth’s nerve or pulp is damaged, bacteria can form in the root canal—causing infection identified by various symptoms, including bone loss around the root, swelling of your face, or drainage into your gums.

The Root Canal Procedure

While root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful, most people find that the process is no more painful than receiving a filling. A root canal may require one or more office visits and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist. An endodontist is a doctor who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries of the human dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.

To start the procedure, we’ll take X-rays to examine the shape of your root canal and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Next, one of our dentists will anesthetize the area around the tooth. Similar to when you receive a filling, a hole will be drilled into the affected tooth and the infected pulp and nerve tissue will be removed. A series of files are then used to clean out any remaining debris along the root canal of the tooth.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed. Depending on the health of the remaining tooth structure, it may be necessary to wait for any remaining infected tissue to heal before the tooth can be sealed. If the root canal cannot be filled on the day of the procedure, then a temporary filling will be placed in your mouth to protect the tooth from food, saliva, and bacteria.

Due to the extent of damage or decay to your tooth, it may be necessary to place a dental crown over the tooth if it cannot be saved. Our dentists will discuss the need for any additional dental work with you.

Post-Procedure Recovery

Your tooth may feel sensitive for the first several days after your root canal, especially if your tooth was infected. Typically, any pain resulting from the root canal can be controlled with over-the-counter medications.

Complications from root canals can arise and are generally due to a re-infection or contamination to the tooth due to additional cracking or a breakdown of the inner sealant. It is important to maintain regular brushing and flossing of your teeth.

Request an Appointment With Us

Don’t ignore dental pain! Please call our office as soon as possible if you suspect you may need root canal therapy. The sooner you contact our Shelby Township dentists, the sooner they can diagnose and treat the cause of your pain. To request an emergency appointment, call Frank P. Ruffino DDS at (586) 799-4240.

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