Root Canal Treatment and Endodontics
When a tooth becomes damaged by trauma or decay, the inner pulp of the tooth can become susceptible to infection. Bacteria that enters through cavities, chips, and cracks can colonize within the tooth’s root creating an often painful infection. Left untreated, the infection may eventually lead to extraction of the affected tooth and other serious problems. A root canal is a common dental procedure that can treat infection of the dental pulp, save the tooth, and help prevent future infection. Our cosmetic dentist, Wayde Fawcett, DDS, performs root canals and other endodontic treatments using state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technology to eradicate infection. His expertise in cosmetic dentistry allow him to create durable and natural-looking porcelain crowns, inlays, and onlays to fully restore tooth structure and function after successful root canal treatment.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a form of endodontic treatment that involves removal of infected dental pulp from within the tooth root, along with the filling and sealing of the cleaned cavity. The last stage of treatment involves reconstructing the natural tooth structure with a suitable restoration, such as a crown, inlay, or onlay.
What Are the Symptoms of a Tooth Infection?
For most patients, the presence of an infection in the dental pulp is fairly obvious, as it is often accompanied by sharp, intense pain. Typically this pain is what motivates patients to call for an urgent appointment with Dr. Fawcett. It is important to understand, though, that there may be other signs that can indicate the presence of an infection. Common symptoms of an infected tooth can include:
- Extreme tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Swelling of the gums
- Pressure beneath the tooth
- Tenderness around the tooth
- Persistent toothache
The Root Canal Procedure
Once Dr. Fawcett has diagnosed the infection with a thorough dental exam and x-rays, your treatment can begin. To start, the area is desensitized with local anesthetic, which should help eliminate any pain during the procedure. If desired, additional sedation dentistry techniques may be used to reduce dental anxiety and induce deep relaxation. Dr. Fawcett will begin by removing any areas of decay from the tooth and accessing the tooth’s root canal. Using specialized tools, he removes the infected pulp and nerve, thoroughly cleans and enlarges the canals, and then seals and fills the tooth. At a second appointment, the filling is removed and the tooth is checked for any signs of remaining infection. The area is then sterilized, and finally a custom porcelain inlay, onlay, or crown is firmly cemented to the tooth. Dr. Fawcett is very careful to ensure a tight fit and seal to prevent bacteria from reentering the tooth.
In some cases, the root canal treatment and restoration process may be completed during one appointment. Our CEREC® machine allows us to design and craft custom crowns, inlays, and onlays during a single visit for patient convenience.
Dr. Fawcett can also perform root canal retreatment procedures in which a tooth has become re-infected over time, either due to bacteria remaining in the root after the initial procedure or bacteria re-entering the root through a newly formed cavity, cracked filling, or broken seal.
What Is Root Canal Recovery Like?
The amount of time it takes for you to heal after a root canal will depend on the severity of the infection that was treated. Most patients do not feel any pain 24 hours after the procedure. Dr. Fawcett can tell you more about what to expect during your recovery once he has performed the treatment. When the final restoration has been placed, patients are able to chew and smile again with full confidence.
If you have a toothache that requires immediate attention or are experiencing any of the infection symptoms listed above, contact Fawcett Center for Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fawcett as soon as possible.