A root canal is an effective restorative endodontic treatment that is used to repair damaged dental pulp. The inside soft center of your tooth is a layer called the dental pulp. It contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.
However, if you have extensive tooth decay or suffer from dental trauma, this inside layer of your tooth can become damaged, inflamed, or infected. When this happens, the only way we can repair your tooth is to remove the damaged dental pulp from the tooth entirely and clean the tooth’s canals.
The following are signs that you need a root canal:
- Severe tooth pain
- Tender & swollen gums
- Facial swelling
- An abscess around the gum of the tooth
- Darkened tooth
- Tooth sensitivity that persists after removal of the stimulus
- Exposed nerve
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, you may have a tooth infection and need a root canal. Contact us at North Billerica Smiles today to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Billerica.
The first step of a root canal is a pulpectomy, which is performed during your first appointment. After administering a local anesthetic, an access hole will be made into your tooth and we will scrape out the damaged dental pulp.
Each tooth contains between 2-4 canals and these canals will need to be cleaned and reshaped. This step can take multiple appointments in certain cases. The inside of the tooth will then be filled with a material called gutta-percha which is similar to rubber. The access hole is then sealed and we recommend that you have a dental crown placed over this tooth for additional protection.
A root canal needs to be performed if your tooth’s pulp has become damaged, infected, or inflamed because root canals save your teeth from extraction. When a tooth becomes infected, oral antibiotics are not enough to cure the infection because the blood vessels inside of the tooth have been destroyed.
The source of the infection (the inflamed dental pulp) needs to be removed. While oral antibiotics may be prescribed, these are used to manage infection-related symptoms and to prevent the infection from spreading.
A root canal cures tooth infections by removing the infected dental pulp and prevents the infection from spreading to the other teeth or entering your bloodstream which can be very dangerous.
An extraction is always an alternative option (and usually the only alternative option) to a root canal but we do not recommend extracting your teeth unnecessarily.
The reason we recommend you get a root canal over a tooth extraction is that once you lose a tooth, it leads to many unintended consequences such as bone loss, premature facial sagging, changes in your bite, and shifting teeth which can cause orthodontic problems.
You need to have extracted teeth replaced with dentures, dental implants, or dental bridges which can run up costs. Meanwhile, root canals have a 95% success rate and usually can save a tooth, restoring it to its full function and health. You should also consider that once you lose a tooth, you are at an increased risk for additional tooth loss.
Root canals are painless because we numb your mouth before any drilling or removal of your dental pulp is performed. While you may experience minor soreness in the next few days following your root canal treatment, it can be managed with NSAIDs and avoiding triggers of tooth sensitivity like extremely hot and cold foods. If anything, root canal therapy will relieve the pain caused by an infection.
A dental implant includes two parts: an abutment and a restoration. Together, these two pieces create a permanent replacement tooth that looks and functions just like a natural one would.
The first step of the dental implant process is a consultation at North Billerica Smiles. During your visit, we’ll assess your smile to see if you’re a good candidate for dental implants. If so, we’ll move onto the treatment planning phase.
One of our dentists will take x-rays and scans of your mouth, then use the detailed images of your teeth, gums, jawline, and surrounding bone structures to come up with a precise treatment plan. Once this is complete, you will come in for your oral surgery and your abutment will be placed in your gum. When this heals, this is the part of your implant that will function as an artificial tooth root.
3-6 Months after your abutment is places and your gums are fully healed, you’ll come back in for your final appointment. During your last visit, we’ll attach a dental crown or other restoration to the abutment, and this will create a replacement tooth that looks and feels natural. You’ll be able to chew, speak, and smile with ease - with no gaps in your teeth!
Since dental implants are an invasive oral surgery, you can expect to feel some pain. However, we use powerful numbing agents and anesthetics to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during your procedure. What’s more, we also send you home with a prescription for medication that will help ease your pain, if necessary. We do everything in our power to provide a smooth, pain-free implant treatment.
With proper care and oral hygiene, your dental implant should last the rest of your life. We also offer maintenance appointments to help ensure that your implant stays in good shape throughout the years.