Severe tooth pain can be terrible. But when you add severe headache, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, jaw and toothache, and sharp pain in the mouth and jaw… there’s not much worse than that. Often, these are a few signs of a tooth infection or tooth abscess. When left untreated, your infection may require a root canal.
The first step is to visit your dentist so they can assess your teeth, identify the cause of the pain and determine the right treatment plan. If you are looking for a dentist in Oklahoma City, contact us today to make your appointment.
Root Canal Basics:
If you need a root canal and have never had one before, you may be wondering: can my regular dentist perform a root canal? Do I need to see a specialist like an endodontist? How painful is a root canal? Well, rest assured, we’re covering all the details of root canals today, so you’re prepared when your appointment arrives.
A root canal procedure is a treatment designed to remove all the bacteria and infection from your tooth’s root canal to save your natural tooth. In a root canal, the inside of your tooth (specifically the infection in your tooth’s pulp) is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, filled and sealed. Sometimes root canals will also require a crown to be placed at a later appointment.
Why Do People Need Root Canals?
Root canals are often necessary when you have a deep cavity or infection in your tooth’s pulp, a cracked tooth, a tooth injury deep in the pulp or a previous filling failing to seal correctly and the infection returns and worsens.
Symptoms that indicate you might need a root canal include:
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Swollen, tender gums
- Consistent tooth pain
- Boil or pimple on the gums
- Tooth discoloration
- Swollen and sore jaw
Are Root Canals Common?
Yes! Root canals are common. They are among the most common procedures performed by dentists. It’s estimated that over 15 million root canals are completed in the United States each year. Our team of dentists in Oklahoma City are experts in root canal procedures, and you should feel confident walking into your procedure.
What Should I Expect at My Root Canal?
Preparing for a Root Canal
The best way to prepare for a root canal is to relax, eat a healthy meal, avoid tobacco and alcohol and take all medications your dentist has prescribed. You may be prescribed antibiotics before and after your procedure to help your body fight off infection.
You’ll want to ensure you eat a filling, healthy meal before your appointment, too, because you may find it difficult to eat after the appointment due to numbness in your mouth. Local anesthesia will be used, and you may feel swollen and numb for a few hours following your root canal.
The Root Canal Process
The root canal process begins similarly to many other dental procedures.
- You will arrive at the appointment, check in and be escorted to a treatment room at our dental office in Oklahoma City
- The dentist will begin the procedure by numbing your mouth with a small amount of numbing agent. Then, a local anesthetic will be injected into your gums near the infected or damaged tooth
- Once your tooth and gums are sufficiently numb, the dentist will open the tooth to remove the infection, clean the canals of your tooth, and coat the area with an antibiotic.
- The tooth will then be filled and sealed. Often, this filling is temporary, and you will return to our office after a few days.
- At your follow-up appointment, we will ensure your root canal procedure successfully removed all signs of infection, and we will replace the temporary filling with a permanent filling.
How Long Does Root Canal Recovery Take?
On the day of your root canal, you should not expect to return to work or school following the procedure. You may have gum and tooth soreness and mild pain after. Our dentists will recommend a pain-management regimen to follow.
Additionally, you should expect to return to our office a few days after the root canal procedure for your permanent filling.
Some mild pain may persist for a couple of days, but if you are experiencing severe pain, please call our office.
When Should I See a Specialist?
While there are different types of dental specialists, like endodontists, who perform specific services and procedures, the dentists at Cobblestone Park Family Dental perform many routine endodontic services daily–particularly root canals.
Endodontics is a type of dentistry that focuses on maintaining and saving natural teeth, and the most common endodontic treatment is a root canal. But, because root canals are so common across dental practice, typically, you do not need to see a specialist dentist for a routine root canal.
Other reasons you may receive a referral to a specialist include:
- Traumatic dental injury treatment – Traumatic injuries often happen due to a sports injury or other accident. Sometimes teeth get minor chips, but other times teeth can be dislodged or knocked out entirely. An endodontist can examine a tooth’s damage and state and determine if saving the tooth is a possibility. If it is, an endodontic procedure can allow them to reattach it.
- Endodontic surgery – If you have severe, advanced problems with your dental pulp, an endodontist might need to perform surgery. During surgery, they can locate hidden canals and minor fractures that can’t usually be detected on X-rays. Your oral surgeon might need to remove calcium deposits or treat damaged root surfaces.
Receive endodontic treatment at Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry
If you suspect you need a root canal or dental procedure of any kind, the most important next step to relieving your pain and improving your oral health is to make an appointment with a quality dentist that offers endodontic therapy. Cobblestone Park Family Dentistry is here to help.
Even if your mouth is in relatively good health, it’s also essential to visit your dentist regularly for routine cleaning and examinations to ensure there are no hidden problems and prevent dental issues from arising in the future. Contact us today to make your appointment.