Root canal therapy, often simply called a root canal, is a dental procedure designed to save and repair a severely damaged or infected tooth. This treatment becomes necessary when the pulp, the innermost soft tissue of the tooth, becomes inflamed or infected. This can happen due to deep decay, cracks, repeated dental procedures, or trauma. The term “root canal” often evokes fear with many of our patients however, this treatment offers tooth-saving, pain-relieving capabilities. Horizon Family Dental Care can provide you with a root canal in Baltimore, MD if you are suffering from a painful infection or a severely damaged tooth.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
We will recommend a root canal for patients experiencing: severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot and cold, swelling around the gums, a throbbing sensation around a tooth, swelling of the jaw, or an abscess on the gums. All of these symptoms indicate pulp inflammation or infection. A tooth that is broken, cracked, chipped, or severely decayed can become infected easily. This exposes the interior of the tooth, the pulp, to bacteria present in the mouth.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your Baltimore dentist. We will try to get you in as soon as possible for X-rays and clinical examination to diagnose you and see if you need a root canal.
The Root Canal Procedure
- Anesthesia: Your Baltimore dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area. This will ensure you remain comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure.
- Create a Small Opening: Then your dentist will create a small opening in the crown of your tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Cleaning and Shaping: The infected or damaged pulp is then removed from the tooth with special tools. Your dentist will clean the root canals, disinfecting the inner tooth and removing any remaining bacteria.
- Filling: Once your tooth is clean, the empty root canals are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha to seal the space and prevent future infection.
- Restoration: You will most likely need a dental crown to strengthen and protect the weakened tooth structure.
Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction
While a tooth extraction might seem like a quicker solution, we strive to preserve natural teeth at all costs. Root canal therapy offers several advantages. Preserving natural teeth will help to maintain the proper alignment of your adjacent teeth, promote efficient chewing, and preserve your facial aesthetics. Additionally, extracting a tooth without replacing it can lead to issues like misalignment, bone loss, and difficulties in eating and speaking.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
It is no secret that root canals have bad reputations. Contrary to what many of our patients believe, this is a common misconception. A root canal is not a painful procedure. In fact, the infection itself is what is causing most patients to be in a lot of pain. Removing the pulp will remove the inflammation and infection, thus helping the patient feel better.
During the procedure, we will make sure your tooth and the area around the tooth are numb, making sure you feel no pain during the procedure. Some post-procedural discomfort might occur, but this can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and usually subsides within a few days.
Root canal therapy is a highly effective and a necessary dental procedure that we use to save teeth from extraction. With modern techniques and anesthesia, the process is relatively painless. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms we listed, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a root canal in Baltimore, MD.