Posts for tag: Root Canal
Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.
After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.
More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.
Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.
Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.
Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.
A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.
Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.
If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?”
As a new permanent tooth develops, the roots undergo a process of breakdown and growth. As older cells dissolve (a process called resorption), they’re replaced by newer cells laid down (deposition) as the jaw develops. Once the jaw development ends in early adulthood, root resorption normally stops. It’s a concern, then, if it continues.
Abnormal root resorption most often begins outside of the tooth and works its way in, beginning usually around the neck-like (or cervical) region of the tooth. Also known as external cervical resorption (ECR), the condition usually shows first as pink spots where the enamel is being undermined. As these spots continue to erode, they develop into cavity-like areas.
While its causes haven’t been fully confirmed, ECR has been linked to excessive pressure on teeth during orthodontic treatment, periodontal ligament trauma, teeth-grinding or other excessive force habits, and bleaching techniques performed inside a tooth. Fortunately, ECR is a rare occurrence, and most people who’ve had these problems won’t experience it.
When it does occur, though, it must be treated as quickly as possible because the damage can progress swiftly. Treatment depends on the size and location of the resorption: a small site can often be treated by surgically accessing the tooth through the gum tissue and removing the offending tissue cells. This is often followed with tooth-colored dental material that’s bonded to the tooth to replace lost structure.
A root canal treatment may be necessary if the damage has extended to the pulp, the tooth’s interior. However, there’s a point where the resorption becomes too extensive to save the tooth. In these cases, it may be necessary to remove the tooth and replace it with a dental implant or similar tooth restoration.
In its early stages, ECR may be difficult to detect, and even in cases where it’s been diagnosed more advanced diagnostics like a CBCT scanner may be needed to gauge the extent of damage. In any case, it’s important that you have your teeth examined on a regular basis, at least twice a year. In the rare chance you’ve developed ECR, the quicker it’s found and treatment begun, the better your chances of preserving the tooth.
Find out the instances in which root canal therapy may be recommended.
Unlike every other morning, this morning was a bit different because you woke up with a nagging toothache. Perhaps it woke you up in the middle of the night and left you tossing and turning. It may even hurt to chew food with this tooth. What could be happening, and when should you turn to our Woodstock, IL, dentist, Dr. Whitney Behm, for help?
What is root canal therapy?
Our Woodstock general dentist will recommend this procedure whenever there is a problem with the dental pulp, a structure that lies within the center the tooth that is part of the root canal system.
While enamel is strong and durable and is designed to protect the dental pulp from issues, there are a number of factors that can lead to needing root canal treatment in the future. These problems include:
- Traumatic injury or direct impact to the tooth (e.g. sports-related injury; car accident)
- Dental decay
- A tooth infection
- A faulty or leaky dental filling
What are symptoms to watch out for?
Of course, the only way to truly tell whether you need this endodontic treatment is to come in so that we can run X-rays to check whether the pulp has been damaged or not; however, there are certain symptoms that may surface that could be warning signs that you need to come into our office as soon as possible for treatment. These symptoms include:
- A toothache that may get worse when biting down on the tooth or chewing food
- Sudden pain or prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold foods or drinks
- Darkening of the tooth
- Swelling, pain or redness of the gums surrounding the tooth
- Pus draining from the tooth
The moment you notice a toothache is the moment you should pick up the phone and give us a call. Even if the X-rays determine that an infected dental pulp is not to blame, a toothache is often a warning sign of a problem that could become potentially serious if left untreated.
Have a question about root canal treatment? Want to talk to us about the symptoms you are experiencing to see whether you should come into our office for care? If so, then it’s the perfect time to call City Square Dental in Woodstock, IL.