When you have a bad toothache, it might be tempting to say to your dentist, “Just pull it.” Yet, you will never have the opportunity to get that natural tooth back. In most cases, root canal dental treatment avoids the need for extraction and keeps your beautiful smile fully functional. Dr. Theodore Siegel of Big Smile Dental in Chicago explains the procedure and the value it imparts.
What to expect from root canal dental treatment in Chicago
In the care of a skilled and experienced dentist, root canal therapy is virtually painless. With local numbing, modern instruments, and efficient techniques, the procedure carries no more discomfort than getting a filling. Plus, it alleviates pain caused by pressure and infection at the center of the tooth.
When you call Big Smile Dental with a toothache or abscess, top priority is getting you out of discomfort. This may involve prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medication to get the infection settled down. In acute cases, treatment may be administered right away.
- At the time of your appointment, the mouth is numbed with local anesthetic. In most cases, this brings immediate and dramatic relief of pain.
- The dentist uses a drill or other instrument to create an access point necessary to reach the middle portion of the tooth.
- Blood vessels and nerves are removed from the pulp chamber and canals that extend into tooth roots.
This now hollow area is sterilized to eliminate harmful pathogens.
- The pulp chamber and canals are filled with a rubbery material that seals out bacteria.
- A post, inserted into one of the canals, helps to support the tooth and restoration.
- Composite resin filling material is used to seal and shape the tooth. This temporary restoration remains in place for several weeks, to be sure the treatment is successful. Generally, post-procedure discomfort can be easily managed with over the counter analgesics, and the dentist will determine if a follow-up course of antibiotics is needed.
- Meanwhile, the dentist sends impressions of the prepared tooth to a laboratory, were a crown is fabricated from high-quality dental ceramic.
- You return to the office to have the interim crown painlessly removed, and the porcelain restoration cemented into place.
The restored tooth is strong and durable. It requires no special care, and you can continue to eat the foods you love. With good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups, you can likely keep the natural tooth for a lifetime.
Is a root canal worth it?
This is a common concern, but now you know that the procedure is not painful or scary, so the question becomes, “What is a natural tooth worth?”
Without proper treatment, a tooth that needs root canal therapy may turn noticeably dark. While initial discomfort could simply be an annoying, intermittent toothache, it usually gets worse. You may experience an acute flare-up of pain and facial swelling – maybe at the worst possible time, such as when traveling. Infection from the tooth can spread to bone, soft tissues, and systemically, triggering other health problems.
Think also about extraction. This procedure is more traumatic than root canal treatment, and the recovery period is longer. If you choose not to have an extracted tooth replaced with a partial denture, fixed dental bridge, or dental implant, four things will happen:
- Other people will notice the gap in your smile.
- The space may affect your ability to speak clearly and eat normally.
- Adjacent teeth will shift out of position, impacting the appearance of your smile even more.
- You will be more prone to tooth decay, gum disease, dental wear, and TMJ as teeth in that arch become crooked.
A dental implant is a titanium screw placed into jawbone where a tooth has been extracted or lost. The implant replicates the root and is topped with a dental crown. While a dental implant can be a lifetime replacement for a missing tooth, and it looks and functions like a natural tooth, the expense is typically more than root canal treatment.
Understanding the facts helps you make informed dental healthcare decisions. You can count on Dr. Siegel and his team at Big Smile Dental in Chicago to help you determine if a root canal is your best treatment choice. Call 773-772-8400 to schedule an appointment or consultation.