Endodontics & Root Canals in Richmond

Root Canal Therapy | Crowns | Prevention

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Damage and infection to the tooth root canals can occur when a tooth gets cracked, chipped, has deep decay issues, or suffers from recurrent decay from old deteriorating restorations such as fillings, crowns, and bridges. Patients who complain of a constant and lingering “toothache”, especially exacerbated by hot or cold liquids, are often candidates for root canal therapy. If there is pus coming out of the gums, then there is a high chance that the root canals are infected, and the bacteria is draining out through the gums via a tunnel through the bone that the bacteria have caused. With root canal therapy, the tooth can be saved, and the pain gone the very same day. For many of our patients who wish to save their severely infected teeth, root canal therapy has turned out to be a more viable solution than undergoing a whole tooth extraction since we are able to save and keep the natural teeth.

When Would I Need Root Canal Therapy?

A root canal therapy procedure becomes necessary when the pulp, or soft tissue inside the tooth’s root canal area, gets inflamed or infected from an injury or infection. That pulp is composed of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. An abcess (pus pocket) may then form in the root canal area. The most common signs of root canal damage we see in our office are:

  • A persistent and lingering toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Chewing or pressure pain
  • Swelling in the patient’s cheek, jaw or throat
  • A tooth that suddenly becomes discolored, usually very dark, then the rest of the surrounding teeth
  • A pain that wakes one up in the middle of the night, making it hard to sleep

Rarely, a tooth can experience root damage and infection without any noticeable symptoms. In these types of cases where there are no noticeable symptoms, the root canal nerves are totally dead. Regular checkups can help to ensure that the teeth stay healthy, and that any early damage or decay is caught early – before root canal therapy is necessitated.

Root Canal Therapy Steps

Root canal therapy is usually be completed within 2 office visits of around one hour each. The root canal therapy procedure that we follow at Studio Dental of River Park is derived from the most current literature, and follow the guidelines and advice from the American Association of Endodontics (AAE). These steps include:

  1. Under local anesthesia, the tooth’s inflamed or infected pulp is removed.
  2. The tooth’s root canal is then carefully cleaned and disinfected. An antibacterial cream is then applied to the inside all of the canals, and a temporary filling is placed. A minimum of 24 hours is allowed to give sufficient time for the anti-bacterial cream to fight and kill off any remaining bacteria inside the canals. Patients report feeling better by 90% or better at this point.
  3. During the second visit, the temporary filling is removed, and the canals are once again cleaned and irrigated to wash away all of the old antibacterial cream and any residual dead bacteria.
  4. Once the tooth’s root canals are sterile, the root canals are then filled and hermetically sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha.
  5. The tooth is then restored with a crown or filling.

Root canal therapy has a negative and scary reputation, but it is actually one of the best ways to treat a tooth that is causing an unbearable pain due to trauma or infection. Pain reduction is noted to be 90% or greater the very same day, and the natural tooth is saved. With proper care, a treated tooth that has undergone root canal therapy can last a lifetime! Root canal therapy is just one of the many cutting-edge and effective treatment options to keep your smile beautiful, strong, and healthy for years to come. For more information about root canals, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tien Dang today, please call Studio Dental of River Park at: 281-560-3001!

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