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Root Canal Therapy

Endodntic Root Canal Treatment in Birmingham

Endodontic therapy (root canal) is a treatment that we do here at our Dental Clinic in Birmingham, AL that will save diseased or injured teeth. The alternative to endodontics is tooth extraction. Typically, a severely decayed tooth or a tooth with a large filling that may need endodontics will begin to ache. The pain might be intermittent at first and over time progress to a constant dull throbbing pain or a severe ache that might be felt on all the teeth on the affected side. Sometimes there is no pain and an abscess might be discovered on a routine X-ray or oral exam.

The pulp, or center of the tooth, consists of soft tissue that is located inside the tooth. It contains nerves, arteries, veins, and lymph tissue. This pulp is actually inside the tooth in small canals or tunnels inside the roots. This is what can get infected due to a deep cavity, large leaking filling, or trauma. If the infected and inflamed pulp is left untreated, the injured pulp will die and become necrotic. Infection can build up at the tip of the root forming an abscess that can actually destroy the bone that is holding your tooth in place. These abscesses can become very dangerous if left untreated and can spread rapidly.

Endodontic treatment or root canal therapy is simply the removal of this pulp tissue that has gone bad and allows your body to repair and replace any destroyed bone under the tooth. Whether or not you need root canal treatment will be determined at the time of your exam.

If you’re suffering from tooth pain, schedule an appointment at Stuart Curry Dentistry today to learn about root canal therapy and other treatment options.

When is a Root Canal Needed?

A dentist may recommend root canal treatment if a tooth shows significant pulpal nerve damage or signs of infection. When a tooth has a large cavity or is cracked, bacteria can enter the pulp. Without prompt treatment, bone loss, a serious infection, or tooth loss can occur. Tooth extraction is an alternative to root canal therapy, however, your dentist will recommend a basic root canal if they believe the tooth is salvageable.
There are many signs and symptoms that can indicate root canal therapy is needed.

Root canal symptoms may include:

  • Severe pain while chewing
  • Drainage from the tooth
  • Tenderness and swelling of nearby gums
  • Facial swelling
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature

What to Expect

Before this dental procedure, X-rays must be taken to determine the extent of damage and whether you’re a candidate for a root canal. If there is severe damage, but your dentist believes the tooth can be saved, they will recommend a root canal. A basic root canal is a fairly simple procedure that often requires two appointments.

Below, you’ll find the steps of a root canal procedure, so you’ll know what to expect during your appointment.

Step 1.

Your dentist will begin the procedure by numbing the area using injections to send the numbing agent directly into the roots of the tooth and the gums. When the area is numb, your dentist will place a dental dam in your mouth to isolate the tooth and cover the rest of the teeth.

Step 2.

Next, your dentist will drill through the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root. They will then use instruments to thoroughly clean the root canals and pulp chamber. An antiseptic and antibacterial solution is used to disinfect and clean the canals to treat the infection and eliminate bacteria.

Step 3.

A filling must be placed in the root canals. The canals must be shaped first. This is accomplished with the use of small instruments. The canals are shaped to prepare them to receive the filling material. Once the canals have been shaped there will be an additional cleaning.

Step 4.

A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is used to fill the canals. Once the material is placed it’s heated and compressed for a snug fit against the walls.

Step 5.

The hole made to access the canals must also be sealed. A post may need to be placed to strengthen the tooth. However, this is usually only necessary if the tooth is unable to support restoration on its own, due to severe damage.

Step 6.

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to kill the rest of the infection. You will also have post-care instructions. During this time, you may feel some discomfort for two to three days following the procedure.

root canal treatment infographic

Follow Up After a Root Canal

Following the completion of the root canal, the tooth will need to be restored. Most times due to the amount of tooth structure removed, a crown is recommended as the final restoration, although depending on where the tooth is located in your mouth, a tooth-colored filling might work for the restoration. Sometimes a post may have to be cemented into the canal of the tooth to add structural support before a crown can be placed. Our Dentist, Dr. Stuart Curry will explain all the options and what your specific tooth may need.

Permanent Crown

If your dentist recommends a permanent crown, a mold will be taken of your tooth at the time of the root canal appointment and sent to a dental lab, where a permanent crown will be made. The crown is designed to match your natural teeth. You will need to come back two to three weeks after the root canal procedure so your dentist can inspect your mouth and ensure everything is healed properly. After that, they will remove your temporary crown and place the permanent one.

Schedule an Appointment for Root Canal at Your Family Dentistry in Birmingham

If you’re experiencing tooth pain and discomfort and showing other signs of infection, you must make an appointment at Stuart Curry Dentistry as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Whether we are in your network or not, we will work with your insurance company to get you the best coverage possible. Schedule an appointment with our Birmingham family dental practice today for quality care!

Schedule Your Family's Dentist Appointment Today

Your smile is our passion. Whether we are in your network or not, we will work with your insurance company to get you the best coverage possible. Schedule an appointment with our Birmingham family dental practice today for quality care!

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Monday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Wednesday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Friday: Closed