Endodontist & Root Canals in Richmond
This Month Only FREE Root Canal Consultation!
For many people, the word “root canal” conjures up frightening images akin to torture in the dentist chair. Unfortunately, root canals have a bad reputation, largely due to unpleasant stories and misinformation handed down over generations.
It’s time to set the record straight: The modern root canal treatments we perform at our Richmond, TX, dental practice are virtually pain-free.
What is a root canal?
Root canals are a valuable and effective dentistry technique in repairing severely decayed and infected teeth, allowing your dentist to save your natural tooth and avoiding extraction whenever possible.
Preserving natural teeth is important, primarily because “real teeth” help maintain healthy bone levels in the jaw. Unstable bone levels invite a host of other potential problems, such as periodontal disease, which can further damage otherwise healthy teeth and, in extreme cases, even lead to chronic conditions like heart disease.
Your dentist will always try to avoid losing a natural tooth out of concern for your oral health as well as your overall well-being. While extraction may sometimes appear to be the “easier” route to deal with a bad tooth, your root canal dentist (endodontist) will do everything she can to save your natural tooth.
Root canal therapy boasts a success rate of more than 95%. Most patients can count on their treated tooth to remain fully functional for a lifetime.
What are the symptoms of a tooth needing a root canal?
A tooth that needs root canal treatment often causes the patient extreme pain, stemming from damaged dental pulp and subsequent infection or abscess.
Other signs that may indicate a root canal is necessary include:
- A pimple (sometimes filled with pus) on the gums near the affected tooth
- Intense sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks that lingers even after the offending substance is removed
- Tender, swollen gums
- Darkening of the tooth, indicating severe decay
What is happening inside the tooth?
Adult teeth contain nerves that are located in the pulp chamber, an area in the center of the tooth. The nerve of a tooth serves as a temperature sensor (hot and cold) only and has no vital importance to the health or everyday function of the tooth.
Severe tooth decay, a crack in the tooth, weakening of the tooth due to multiple prior dental procedures, or even injury to the face can cause the pulp to become infected as bacteria multiply inside the pulp chamber. The infected pulp can lead to an abscess at the root of the tooth, which in turn may drain into the skin and produce a pimple-like, pus-filled swelling on the gum line. Meanwhile, the nerve inside the root of the tooth typically dies off.
As the infection progresses, however, it can lead to extreme pain for the patient.
What about root canal pain?
The experienced root canal dentists in Richmond, TX, ensure your comfort throughout the procedure. In fact, patients experience a great deal of pain relief as soon as root canal treatment begins. Your dentist offers sedation options that keep you comfortable during treatment, and once the procedure is finished and the damaged pulp is extracted, patients no longer feel the original pain that brought them to the dentist’s office in the first place.
Many patients report that although it takes a bit longer, a root canal treatment is no more painful than a regular dental filling. As with any dental procedure, some minor swelling and irritation at the site is normal. Your dentist will likely prescribe a pain reliever to keep you comfortable until the irritation subsides.
Remember: A root canal doesn’t cause pain. It relieves it.
How does a root canal dentist in Richmond, TX, perform the procedure?
A standard root canal treatment typically involves anywhere from 1 to multiple visits to the dentist’s office.
The endodontist will begin by taking x-rays of your mouth to look for signs of infection and get an idea of the shape of the tooth root. The root canal dentist then administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth and gums around it. If the patient is fearful of dental procedures, the dentist may recommend oral sedation in the form of pills to take prior to the procedure.
A rubber dam is used to isolate the tooth and keep saliva away, ensuring the area stays dry during the root canal treatment. Next, the dentist drills an access hole into the tooth and uses a series of small files that reach deep into the pulp chamber and tooth root to extract the dental pulp and bacteria. Once the root canals are thoroughly cleaned and scraped, the dentist may choose to immediately fill the space inside of the tooth with a rubber substance called gutta-percha, or he may decide to delay this step for a second appointment.
If the root canal treatment requires a second appointment, the endodontist may apply medication to the inside of the tooth to help clear up any remaining infection, and place a temporary filling to prevent food particles, irritants, and bacteria from entering the access hole.
When the patient returns to the dentist’s office a few days later, the endodontist reopens the access hole to fill the interior of the tooth with gutta-percha. The tooth is subsequently sealed and receives a permanent filling.
Frequently, another appointment is needed to fully restore the tooth’s strength and function by fortifying it with a crown in an effort to prevent cracking of the weakened tooth.
Root canal after care
If the root canal wasn’t completed in a single appointment, your dentist will discourage chewing on the affected tooth until treatment is complete. This helps prevent cracking and possible damage to the temporary filling, which could result in bacteria to re-entering the tooth.
Patients are encouraged to take all prescribed medication as directed. If no pain reliever was prescribed, over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen, acetaminophen or naproxen should alleviate any discomfort and reduce inflammation.
Good oral hygiene is important for all teeth, including those treated with a root canal. Remember to brush and floss daily, and see the dentist for regular check-ups.
In the unlikely event of complications, your dentist may recommend re-treatment in the form of endodontic surgery, or apicoectomy.
Why choose Grand Parkway Smiles for your root canal treatment?
The experienced, highly-trained root canal dentists at Grand Parkway Smiles are committed to a positive outcome of every patient’s root canal procedure. We are dedicated to preserving your natural teeth to the greatest extent possible, and strive to continually implement the latest technology and dentistry techniques in an effort to provide the best possible treatment to our patients.
We are proud to have Dr. Sara Gomez on staff, a highly skilled and award-winning endodontist with a proven track record of successful root canal treatments.
We believe that root canal treatment should be pain-free, and work with our patients to develop a sedation approach that fits their individual needs. Alleviating discomfort is a top priority at Grand Parkway Smiles!
If you suffer from tooth pain and are concerned you may need a root canal in Richmond, TX, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today by calling (832) 222-0016. The initial consultation is free for new root canal patients.
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Loved this dentist! So quick, nice and informative... I was dreading taking my 21 month old daughter to her first appointment but they were so helpful and sweet! Highly recommend this office