What is a root canal and when is it needed?

Root Canal Treatment - Shelby TownshipA root canal is a procedure performed by a dentist to relieve pain when a tooth becomes infected or abscessed.  When the pulp becomes inflamed it must be removed and the surface inside the tooth is disinfected and the filling is placed to seal the space.  The pulp itself becomes infected with oral bacteria when in most cases, a cavity is left untreated for a long period of time.  In addition to a cavity, it is also common for an infection to occur if the tooth itself experiences trauma and becomes damaged.

What are symptoms that indicate you may need a root canal treatment?

It is possible that in some cases you may not even know that you have an infection in your tooth.  However, most people have symptoms that would indicate a root canal treatment is needed such as:

  1. Pain deep down in your tooth or discomfort that radiates into your face, jaw, or other teeth.
  2. Teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold: Many dental patients indicate they have sensitivity to hot and cold drinks that may last for more than just a few seconds.
  3. Gums are Swollen: Some tooth infections result in a buildup of puss which can lead to swollen or tender gums.
  4. Swollen jaw: When pus doesn’t drain from the infected site, your jaw may become swollen.
  5. Your tooth looks darker: If the pulp is infected it may turn your tooth to a darker color.  This is due to a poor blood supply to your tooth.
  6. Pain resulting from pressure: If the nerves around the pulp of your tooth are damaged, you may experience pain when you eat or touch your tooth.
  7. A tooth damaged by trauma: When trauma occurs that results in a cracked tooth, it is possible for bacteria to reach the pulp.
  8. Tooth feels loose: As pus builds up around the tooth it softens the bone to support the tooth.

How common is root canal therapy?

According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 287,000 root canals are performed in the USA every week.   That calculates to over 25 million root canals are performed each year.  Chances are high that someone you know is scheduled to have a root canal treatment this week.

What should you do to prepare for root canal treatment?

Prior to having a root canal treatment your dentist or another healthcare provider can answer any questions you may have about the treatment.  In general, here are three ways you can prepare for your treatment:

  1. Be sure to take all medications that your health provider has prescribed for you. They may include antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications.  This is especially important if your dentist has determined that you have a lot of infection present.
  2. If you smoke, don’t. Tobacco products negatively affect your body’s ability to heal itself.    Try your best to stop smoking at least several days before your scheduled root canal treatment. This may even be a good time to stop altogether!
  3. Have a healthy meal: It may take several hours for the local anesthesia to wear off, but it’s a great idea to eat before your appointment.

HPS Dental Care is Accepting New Dental Patients

At HPS Dental Care we focus not only on our dental patients’ teeth but also on their overall health.  If you notice any of the warning signs we mentioned, give us a call at 248-652-0024 as soon as possible to schedule a dental appointment and we can determine the best treatment for you.  HPS Dental is conveniently located on 24 Mile Road near Shelby Rd. in Shelby Township, MI.