When you have an infected tooth, it’s not just that tooth that’s in danger. An infected tooth can spread that infection to other teeth, your sinuses, and even your brain, which can be deadly. A root canal procedure can remove that infection, restore the damaged tooth, and prevent the spread of infection. A tooth restored with a root canal can remain functional for decades after the procedure.
Although many people fear root canals, the procedure is not actually as bad as its reputation, and we also offer sedation dentistry to help you overcome your anxiety to get this vital procedure. Dr. Debra Cederbaum also approaches this and all procedures with a gentle, compassionate touch to maximize your comfort and give you the best experience possible. If you know or suspect you need a root canal, please call 206-524-1314 or email us today for an appointment at our dental office in Seattle.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal is necessary when a cavity has penetrated through the outer layers of the tooth, the enamel and dentin, into the center of the tooth, called the nerve or pulp. When this occurs, oral bacteria can infect the interior of the tooth, and from there they can spread into your jawbone, other teeth, and elsewhere in the body, even the brain.
Although people vary widely in terms of symptoms, the most common symptoms of an infected tooth are:
- Spontaneous tooth pain
- Tooth pain related to heat, cold, or pressure that lasts for a half hour or more
- Recurring sinus infections
- Pimples on the gums
- Serious or persistent bad breath (may also be a symptom of gum disease)
- Infection symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph glands
We most often imagine that an infected tooth must hurt a lot, but it doesn’t always. Some people experience comparatively minor pain associated with an infected tooth.
The Root Canal Procedure
In a root canal, we have to access your tooth pulp. We then remove the infected pulp and bacteria and clean the interior of the tooth. Tooth pulp isn’t necessary except as a filler once your tooth has finished growing. We will then fill the pulp cavity with an inert material that can support your tooth from the inside and top the tooth with a dental crown.
Usually, a tooth that has been treated with a root canal will last for a long time: ten, fifteen, twenty years, or more. Sometimes, though, we may evaluate the condition of your tooth and decide it is best to perform an extraction and replace the tooth with a dental implant.
Sedation Dentistry for a Root Canal
Root canals are infamous as being a bad procedure, but they usually don’t live up to their reputation. Modern procedures and technology mean that there is little discomfort involved, much less than people are likely experiencing because of the infected tooth.
But sometimes that doesn’t help people overcome their anxiety. If you are concerned about a root canal, we offer a full range of sedation dentistry options that can help you feel relaxed before and during your root canal.
To learn more about the root canal procedure or schedule an appointment with Dr. Cederbaum in Seattle, please contact us today.