Understanding the difference between an endodontist and a general dentist can assist people who want to find an appropriate dental provider for a particular problem with their teeth. An endodontist is a dental professional who focuses on diagnosing and treating dental diseases and injuries of the pulp inside the teeth. The goal is to save…
Is a Root Canal a Dental Emergency?
A root canal is a dental procedure in which the nerve and pulp of an infected or extremely decayed tooth are removed. Typically, the first sign that one may be needed is pain from an infection. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, it may constitute an emergency that requires immediate treatment. The three main signs that it is an urgent situation are extreme pain, bleeding and damage to the tooth that exposes the pulp and nerve.
The steps of root canal treatment
A root canal can be performed by your regular dentist. Sometimes, you need an endodontist to carry out this treatment. They are a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of medical issues affecting the inside of the tooth. Your dentist will refer you to an endodontist if the procedure will be particularly complicated.
Although the root canal procedure is frequently referred to as being painful, this is not necessarily the case. The most painful part is often the infection. In fact, many patients often find immediate relief following the procedure.
Testing the issue
To determine the cause of the problem and if the procedure is necessary, the dentist will take X-rays. They will want to see if there is damage to the tooth and the extent of that damage. Depending on what the tests reveal, a decision will be made as to the best course of treatment.
If an infection is present, you will likely first be put on a course of antibiotics to remove the infection and the inflammation before the root canal procedure can be started. The dentist or endodontist will come up with a treatment plan, which may include multiple visits while the infection is cured.
Removing the pulp and nerve
The primary step of the procedure is to remove the infected or decayed pulp and nerve completely. This can typically be done in one session but occasionally requires more. This can be due to the structure of the tooth as well as your comfort level. Your dentist will determine if you only need a topical anesthetic or will be asleep for the procedure.
Sealing the tooth
In some cases, the tooth will be permanently sealed on the same day that it is cleaned out. If this does not happen, a temporary seal may be put on until the following appointment.
Restoring the area
Depending on the state of the tooth, restorations such as crowns may be required to protect the tooth as well as to allow you to bite normally. Your crown will be made in a lab, so this will require an additional appointment.
Root canals are nothing to fear
Prevention of tooth decay is ideal, but decay can occur despite flossing and brushing. Although many people put off seeing their dentist, this is not a good idea. Regular checkups are important, and it is vital to visit the dentist at the first sign of discomfort, even if the pain is not severe.
Ignoring a painful tooth can cause serious problems and require root canal therapy. If you notice any tooth pain or other oral health issues, call our dental office for an evaluation.
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