Each year, millions of teeth are saved thanks to root canal treatment. Root canals are performed when an infection has affected the internal pulp and roots of the teeth. During the procedure, the infected pulp is removed and replaced within the affected tooth. The tooth is then restored with a permanent crown or a filling. Root canal therapy can relieve any tooth pain patients may be experiencing and help them achieve healthier teeth. At Bliss Dental, Dr. Andy Gaertner often performs endodontic treatment on patients in the South Miami area who have damaged teeth that could be saved with this procedure. He ensures patients are as comfortable as possible throughout the root canal procedure and takes great pride in assisting them in finding the relief they deserve.
When Root Canals are Necessary
Permanent teeth are filled with tooth pulp, a substance made up of nerves and blood vessels. When the tooth pulp inside the middle of the teeth experiences inflammation or infection, a root canal treatment is usually necessary. Dr. Gaertner may suggest a root canal to patients who are suffering from deep dental decay, faulty crowns, cracked or chipped teeth, or repeated dental procedures such as fillings in the teeth. A damaged tooth that would otherwise need to be pulled can often be saved with root canal treatment.
Left untreated, pulp inflammation or infection can lead to serious tooth pain and an abscess. A root canal procedure can help patients maintain their natural teeth and smile, continue eating their favorite foods, and reduce their need for ongoing dental work.
Benefits of Root Canals
There are a number of benefits patients can enjoy by undergoing a root canal. First and foremost, root canals can help patients alleviate persistent pain from an infected tooth. During a root canal treatment, the nerve of the tooth is removed so that it will no longer cause pain. A few days after undergoing a root canal treatment, patients will notice their infected tooth pain is no longer present.
A root canal treatment can also stop infection. All of the tooth’s diseased pulp will be removed and replaced during the procedure. Since infection can spread into the bone and into other teeth, sinuses, or the brain, it’s important to undergo root canal therapy and protect the patient from harmful bacteria.
In addition, a root canal treatment can allow a patient to preserve their natural tooth. Rather than removing the tooth and leaving a gap or resorting to dental implants, Dr. Gaertner prefers to perform a root canal treatment when possible so that the patient can keep their natural tooth.
Since infected teeth are often very discolored, a root canal treatment can restore a patient’s smile and ensure that an infected tooth doesn’t take a toll on their appearance. In the event that their infected tooth does become discolored, Dr. Gaertner can cover it with a dental crown so that it receives an attractive, new exterior.
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Good Candidates for Root Canal Treatment
Unfortunately, the signs that indicate a patient may need a root canal aren’t always obvious until their infected dental pulp has already weakened their tooth. Most candidates for root canal treatment notice several symptoms that may signify infection and the need for a root canal. These symptoms include tooth discoloration, swollen and tender gums near the area of infection, a recurring pimple on the gums, severe toothache when chewing, or tooth sensitivity when exposed to hot or cold temperatures.
Patients who experience any of these symptoms are encouraged to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gaertner right away so he can determine if they are in need of a root canal.
The Root Canal Procedure
Once Dr. Gaertner has suggested root canal therapy, the procedure will be scheduled and the patient will be instructed to take antibiotics for several days prior to treatment. The antibiotics will help their body fight off infection and ensure that the anesthetics used before the procedure are more effective.
When it’s time for the root canal procedure, Dr. Gaertner will inject a local anesthetic into the nerve near the affected tooth. In a few minutes, the tooth will become numb and he will apply a plastic or foam sheet over the tooth to isolate it from the other teeth. He may place cotton rolls in the patient’s mouth to absorb saliva and keep a dry work area.
Next, Dr. Gaertner will use a drill to create an opening in the center of the patient’s tooth. At this time, the patient may notice some vibrations but should not experience any pain. The goal will be to make the opening deep enough to allow the dentist to access the soft tissues within the roots of the tooth. As soon as the opening is deep enough, Dr. Gaertner will use special tools to scrape and remove the diseased pulp from the roots. He will also use a sanitizer to kill any bacteria.
Lastly, Dr. Gaertner will use a rubbery material to fill the empty tooth roots and fill the opening with composite resin or metal amalgam, like he would when filling a cavity.
Restoring the tooth is typically a two-part process. In most cases, Dr. Gaertner will cover the tooth with a temporary crown and ask a patient to return for a second appointment so that a permanent crown can be secured in place. The crown is intended to protect the patient’s damaged tooth from cracks, further decay, and other damage.
Recovering from a Root Canal
Recovering from endodontic treatment is easy. If a patient has a temporary crown, Dr. Gaertner will suggest they stay away from consuming foods that are excessively sticky or crunchy until they receive their permanent crown. Although patients should not feel any pain during the recovery process, they may face minor sensitivity to hot or cold, which should fade within a few weeks.
Patients may need to use a sensitivity toothpaste and take antibiotics for several days after root canal treatment. Caring for a tooth that has been treated with a root canal involves brushing and flossing around it regularly and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and preventative dental care. Root canals usually last forever but if decay does appear, patients may require a tooth extraction and dental implants to replace the tooth.
How to Prevent the Need for Root Canals
While root canals are a great option for patients who already have infected or inflamed teeth, Bliss Dental promotes preventative dental care and likes to educate patients in Miami, FL on how they can prevent the need for root canals in the future.
The best way to prevent the need for root canal is to brush and floss the teeth properly to keep bacteria at bay. This can prevent gum disease and decay that could lead to abscesses down the road. Dr. Gaertner recommends brushing twice a day for at least two minutes with a soft-bristled toothpaste and special anti-cavity toothpaste. Patients should also floss daily and pack floss with them if they are frequently on the go.
Visiting Dr. Gaertner every six months or so for regular dental exams and cleaning is also highly encouraged. He can ensure that any tooth decay or gum disease is detected early. This can mean the difference between extraction and restoring the tooth.
Patients should also contact our South Miami area office to schedule an appointment right away if they notice any of the following symptoms:
- decay such as bleeding after brushing or flossing
- redness in the gums
- increased gum sensitivity
- lingering bad breath
- sensitivity to hot and cold
The longer they allow these symptoms to continue, the higher their chances are for developing an abscess or diseased pulp and blood vessels, leading to the need for urgent root canal therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal Procedure
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diseases of the tooth pulp and its supporting structures. Endodontists spend two or more years after dental school on root canal training. They are also experienced at finding the root cause of oral and facial pain.
Visible injury or swelling surrounding the damaged tooth, sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, and pain in the natural teeth and gums may be signs that a root canal procedure is necessary. Fractured or cracked teeth may also require root canal therapy.
Root canals have developed a reputation for causing pain. However, the truth is that root canals relieve pain instead of causing it. At Bliss Dental in Miami, FL, we make your comfort our top priority and perform root canals in a way that causes minimal to no discomfort.
Bliss Dental encourages endodontic treatment whenever possible so that infection does not spread to your gums and jawbone. The alternatives to this treatment are to leave the tooth or to have it extracted.
Whenever possible, it’s always best to save your natural teeth. While artificial teeth look and function like real teeth, they can’t completely replace your permanent teeth. By undergoing root canal, you can treat teeth with damaged and diseased pulp and reduce your risk for serious complications down the road. After a root canal, the pulp is removed and can no longer become infected.
Many patients do report their teeth feeling tender after undergoing a root canal. If you experience tooth sensitivity after a root canal, rest assured that this is normal and will go away in a few days once your body completes the natural healing process. If you’d like, you can take over-the-counter medications to ease any discomfort you may be facing.
Are root canals expensive?
It’s less expensive and less invasive to save your tooth through a root canal then it is to extract it and replace it with an implant or bridge. Our team will be happy to work with you to design a customized payment plan that works well with your budget and needs. We believe that finances should never get in the way of you receiving the dental treatments necessary to achieve optimal oral health.
Will I need additional treatment after a root canal?
Typically, an affected tooth treated with a root canal lasts as long as other natural teeth. On occasion, however, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or years after treatment. If this occurs, contact Dr. Gaertner right away so that can perform endodontic retreatment.
Why can’t antibiotics make abscess go away?
When a tooth is infected, the pulp running through it is also affected. Therefore, there is no way to administer antibiotics directly to the necessary area. While antibiotics can’t make an abscess go away, they can control and eliminate infection in the surrounding bone before and after you undergo root canal treatment.
Why Choose Bliss Dental for Root Canal Treatment
Dr. Gaertner of Bliss Dental is an endodontist with significant training and experience in root canal therapy. He spent an additional few years after graduating from dental school receiving specialized training in root canal procedure. He knows just how uncomfortable tooth pain and abscesses can be and is committed to helping each and every patient find relief.
If you make the wise decision to trust Dr. Gaertner for your root canal procedure, you can expect him to be there for you to answer any questions or address any concerns before, during, and after treatment. He will ensure you feel as comfortable as possible during the procedure and serve as an invaluable dental care resource in years to come.
Contact Bliss Dental For More Information About Root Canal Treatment
If you are experiencing severe tooth pain or showing any signs that may indicate the need for root canal treatment, we encourage you to contact our office to schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience. Call (305) 274-6500 or fill out our online contact form today. We look forward to meeting you at our Miami, FL office and helping you achieve optimal oral health.