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Dental Exam

Root Canal Therapy

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A root canal or endodontic therapy is a common dental procedure that can save your tooth after decay and/or infection. If your tooth has been damaged or you have advanced tooth decay, endodontic treatment may be the only way to save your tooth and stop pain and sensitivity.

What Is Endodontic Therapy?

When a tooth is very damaged, has advanced tooth decay, or infection, endodontic therapy is performed to remove the damaged or infected pulp inside the tooth before the tooth is filled. This procedure involves creating an opening at the back of the tooth or through the crown. Dead, diseased, or infected pulp is removed from the center of the tooth before the empty chamber is cleaned and prepared. When the infection and decay is treated, a filling is placed to protect the tooth. A permanent crown will be necessary to restore your tooth’s natural shape and appearance. This procedure is often the only way to save a tooth that would otherwise be lost to infection, decay, or injury.

Despite common misconception, root canals are not painful; the procedure relieves the pain you experience due to the infection. While you may experience slight discomfort after the anesthesia wears off, the procedure itself is painless.

When Is a Root Canal Necessary?

The most common reason to require endodontic therapy is when the tooth becomes infected due to severe decay. A tooth with a cavity or other damage — such as a chip — allows bacteria to enter and infect the pulp. This infection can also spread beyond the tooth, potentially causing life-threatening complications. When a tooth becomes infected, it’s called an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth can cause many symptoms. For some people, tooth sensitivity and pain are the only symptoms, but others experience very little pain but may have other signs of infection like a fever. Watch for the following signs of an abscessed tooth:

  • Facial swelling
  • Persistent or throbbing toothache. The pain may radiate to your neck, jaw, or ear
  • Sensitivity to hot, cold, and pressure
  • Fever
  • Lump or swelling on the gums close to a tooth with decay or damage
  • Swollen lymph nodes of the neck
  • Rush of salty, bad-tasting fluid in the mouth that causes a relief from the pain

While most root canals are necessary due to decay, they can also be necessary if the tooth has undergone several dental procedures, the tooth has a crack or chip, a dental crown has failed, or the tooth is injured. It’s possible for an injury without visible damage to the tooth to damage the sensitive pulp.

If you or your child has suffered a tooth injury or have signs of a tooth infection, it’s important to see a dentist right away. An abscessed tooth can be life-threatening if it isn’t treated with endodontic therapy. It can also cause severe pain and difficulty eating.

Dr. Holser is a local family dentist who performs endodontic therapy on patients of all ages in Xenia, Ohio. Our dental practice focuses on building relationships with treatment plans designed for your needs. We understand that some people have a fear of visiting the dentist and root canals in particular. You can count on Dr. Holser to address your fears and make the experience as pleasant as possible. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Holser to protect your tooth and safeguard your oral health.

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