What Is Root Canal Treatment?

Human tooth anatomy concept.

Root canal treatment often gets a bad rap, but in truth it is a common procedure that should cause no more discomfort than a filling. At Rangel Dental, we use the latest technology and dental procedures to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

Why You May Need Root Canal Treatment

When the pulp of a tooth becomes damaged, it can lead to painful infection and abscesses. Inflammation and infection can be caused by deep decay, large fillings, breaks or fractures and trauma to the tooth. Signs you may need root canal treatment include:

  • Severe pain when you bite down, chew or apply pressure to your tooth
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Pain, swelling and tenderness of the gums and cheek
  • An abscess on the gums

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s vital to visit your dentist right away. If left untreated, infection can spread to other areas of the face, neck or head, cause bone loss near the tip of the root, lead to tooth loss and seriously impact your overall health.

Root Canal Procedure

Root canal treatment may require more than one visit to your dentist. First, an X-ray is taken to get a look at the shape of the tooth’s canals and to see if there is any infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist will then numb the area with a local anesthesia. If you suffer from dental fear or anxiety, we offer a few options for sedation dentistry that can help you relax and stay comfortable during the procedure. Once the area is numb, an access hole is drilled in the tooth, the pulp, bacteria and debris are removed and the canals are cleaned, disinfected and shaped. Your dentist may also put an antibacterial medication in the canal before sealing it up with a filling.

Because removal of the nerves decreases blood flow to your tooth, it can become brittle, so your dentist will most likely restore your tooth with a crown to protect it from damage and breakage.  A porcelain crown is a natural-looking, aesthetically pleasing way to protect your tooth and preserve the supporting bone structure and stability of adjacent teeth. The crown procedure may be started at the same visit, or your dentist may recommend that you give your tooth a week or two to heal before the tooth is prepared for a crown.

What To Expect After Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment should provide relief from toothache pain. For the first few days after the procedure, you may have some sensitivity, especially if there was infection present.  Discomfort can usually be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications such as Motrin, Aleve and Tylenol.

Most patients return to their normal activities the next day, but it’s important to treat your tooth with extra care until your permanent crown is placed. Avoid sticky or crunchy foods and minimize chewing on the tooth that is under repair. This will help avoid recontamination of the tooth and prevent it from breaking before it can be fully restored. Make sure to practice a good oral hygiene routine that includes twice daily brushing, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash and flossing once a day.

Contact Us

To learn more about root canal treatment and the other dental services we offer, contact Rangel Dental online or call 973-292-0001 to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to serving all of your dental care needs.