The Greek word “Endodontics” literally means “inside the tooth,” and relates to the tissues (pulp) and nerves inside your tooth. When the nerve inside the tooth becomes inflamed or diseased, you will require a root canal.
Here are some signs that you might need a Root Canal:
- Inflammation and tenderness in the gums.
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot foods.
- Tenderness when chewing and biting.
- Tooth discoloration.
- Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes.
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
Sensitivity to hot and cold.
Severe toothache pain.
Swelling and/or tenderness.
However, sometimes no symptoms are present.
Reasons for endodontic treatment
Here are some of the main causes of inner tooth damage:
Cavities (Bacterial infections) – Bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria can invade the tooth pulp through cavities, which start as tiny fissures in the teeth that you won't be able to see with the naked eye. Only your dentist can tell you if you have a cavity starting, and treat it before you risk a Root Canal- another reason to see your dentist at least every six months!
Fractures and chips – When a large part of the tooth has cracked or become completely detached, which can be painful and problematic.
Injuries – Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a blow to the mouth area.
Removals – If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in milk. Then, call us right away.
What does an endodontic procedure invlove?
First, we take an x-ray of the tooth.
If you're nervous, we can provide everything from Nitrous Oxide, or "Laughing Gas", to full sedation. Dr Eckman loves to hear from patients and discuss all of the ways he helps you with fears or dental anxiety. You can email him here.
We then get you nice and numb by rubbing a topical gel on your gums. Then, a local anesthetic will be administered. Finally, we wait a few minutes until you're totally numb before we get started. We promise!
Then, Dr Eckman will remove the problem areas of the tooth, cleaning and sanitizing the inside of the tooth's nerve canals, and filling the canals with a special, medicated, dental material that helps your tooth to heal and be stable.
Dr Eckman is happy to answer any questions you might have about any procedure, at any time. You can email him here.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for the adjacent teeth as you lose bone, teeth drift into the empty space, and become unstable.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Root Canals sound scary, and I've heard negative things about them. What is this going to feel like?
If you've ever had a filling, this will feel very similar from your perspective. You'll be numb, you'll hear some noise, and feel the coolness of the air from the suction. But you will feel no pain at any time during the procedure.
After the numbness wears off, usually there is little to no pain. It is normal to feel slight tenderness, but that's about it.
We encourage you to speak with Dr Eckman about your questions and concerns, and not to a co-worker, friend, or family member who had a root canal in the past, and may have had a bad experience. Most patients feel fantastic right afterwards, and within a day or two, enjoy a complete relief of the pain they were in prior to their Root Canal.