One of the most common dental procedures out there is the root canal, which millions of Americans undergo each year. A root canal is needed when the pulp inside of a tooth or several teeth becomes infected. The pulp is made up of the nerves and soft tissue inside the root canal, or middle of the tooth.
Decaying teeth can cause an infection that may spread. Patients with severe decay require tooth extraction as a last resort. A root canal procedure in our Charlotte, NC office can help prevent tooth loss by removing infection and cleaning the affected tooth.
Root Canal Treatment in Charlotte, NC
A root canal procedure is a vital dental service that prevents tooth loss and removes infection from the inside of a tooth. If you have an infection in your tooth, it will not go away on its own. In fact, without treatment, this infection can spread to other parts of your body and make you very sick.
The pulp is found in the center of the tooth, directly under the dentin layer, and extends down into the root canals of the tooth. Pulp is a jelly like substance that is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When a tooth is cracked or damaged in any way, bacteria can enter the tooth and cause an infection. When a tooth infection spreads and affects the pulp, a root canal is needed.
What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure
Our root canal procedure starts with Dr. Reece making a small hole in the affected tooth to remove the infected pulp. He will clean and polish the tooth and fill it with gutta-percha, a biocompatible rubber compound.
A dental filling or dental crown will then be used to cover the tooth, preventing further damage. Local anesthesia and nitrous oxide are used to minimize pain during the procedure.
Symptoms of Tooth Infection
Look out for these signs of infection and call our office if you notice any that seem familiar:
- Tooth sensitivity to temperature and pressure
- Face swelling
- Pain in the neck, jaw, or ear
- Difficulty swallowing
Several risk factors including poor hygiene, a diet high in sugar, or dry mouth may make more patients prone to a tooth infection than others. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, contact Dentistry of the Queen City.
Steps to Prevent Tooth Infection
There are several steps you can take to ensure your teeth don’t get infected:
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings
- Limit sugary foods and drinks
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months
- Use dental floss when you brush your teeth
- Use fluoride toothpaste and water
However, if you have noticed severe symptoms, we will be happy to provide you with comprehensive general dentistry treatments.
The Root Canal Pain Myth
Many people are scared of getting root canals because they have a reputation for being painful. However, this reputation has no basis in fact. Many people describe the process of a root canal as nothing more than a dental filling.
The pain that many people experience is the actual pain of the infection putting pressure on the tooth. When the dental pulp is infected and inflamed, it becomes swollen, putting pressure on the walls of the tooth.
When the patient gets a root canal, they may experience some pain relief right away. Removing that infected pulp prevents it from putting pressure on the tooth. Gutta-percha is filled in to replicate healthy dental pulp and will only fill the tooth to make it stable and comfortable.
Since a tooth is often made stronger with the help of a dental crown, you should regain full function in the tooth and not face any future pain.
Root Canal FAQs
If you have concerns or questions about root canals, please read through our frequently asked questions section. We are also available during regular business hour if you have additional questions.
Do you offer sedation dentistry for root canals?
Yes, Dr. Reece also offer several sedation methods for patients that suffer from dental anxiety. Since root canals have a bad reputation for being extremely painful, many patients have a lot anxiety about the procedure. Our sedation dentistry methods will help you remain in a deep state of relaxation during the entire treatment and have little to no memory of the appointment.
Are root canals safe?
Root canal therapy is very safe and also effective at removing infection from a tooth. They offer a high success rate in infected or damaged teeth. We use local anesthetic to ensure that our patients are comfortable during the treatment. However, as with any medical treatment, there are certain risk factors. The primary one being infection control. There is a chance of recurring infection which is why we will make sure the tooth is very clean, disinfected, and sealed off properly.
Is getting a root canal painful?
Many patients may think that a root canal is a painful procedure. However, patients who receive a root canal do not feel excessive pain and anesthesia is used to numb teeth during the procedure. The actual tooth infection is more painful than a root canal procedure. Once the infection is removed, the pain will begin to subside.
How long does a root canal take?
The duration of a root canal treatment depends on the complexity of each patient’s case and how well they cooperate. The average treatment should take about three appointments. Each appointment is about one to one and half hours long. Consult with your dentist to get an accurate time frame for your treatment.
What should I do after the root canal procedure?
Avoid sticky foods following your root canal, and wait for the numbness to die down before eating food or consuming hot liquids. You can use over-the-counter medication to handle any post-procedure discomfort. Please avoid chewing directly on the tooth for a few days to promote healing. Please contact our office if the filling feels loose or if you are in an extreme amount of pain.
Are there alternatives to root canal therapy?
The only alternative to root canal therapy is a tooth extraction. However, most dentists agree that the best solution for patients is to keep the tooth intact. Preserving your natural tooth for as long as possible is the best thing for your oral health. Extracting the tooth means you will have to replace it which can be expensive.
Schedule a Root Canal Treatment in Charlotte, NC
If you want to remove infection and get cleaner teeth today, call Dentistry of the Queen City at 704-486-8911 or request an appointment on our website. Dr. Reece and his team will provide treatment in their Charlotte, NC office. They will also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the root canal procedure.