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root canal treatment

Root Canal Treatment at Lee’s Summit Dentist Office

Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to this pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy, also. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.

Determining if Your Tooth Needs a Root Canal

Your dentist will take an x-ray of the tooth. If he or she determines that you need a root canal treatment, 1 or 2 appointments will be scheduled based on the size and duration of the abscess and other factors. Before starting root canal therapy, the doctor will administer local anesthesia to ensure your complete comfort. A dental dam is placed on the infected site to isolate the affected area. A small opening is made through the top of the tooth to gain access to the pulp. The pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the root canal, is removed from the chamber and canals. The canals are then cleaned with a disinfecting solution. X-rays may be taken throughout the procedure to ensure each canal is being adequately treated.

Once the canals are cleaned, they are filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material to protect and seal. A temporary filling may be placed in the opening until it can be replaced by a permanent filling. After the root canal is completed, the tooth will need a crown to protect it from fracturing.

What to Expect After Treatment
After the procedure, your tooth may feel sensitive for the first few days. This discomfort may be relieved with over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications. Avoid chewing on the treated tooth until you have a full restoration. Root canal therapy can preserve a patient’s tooth for a lifetime. It is a highly successful procedure with more than a 95% success rate. In those rare 5% of cases that the tooth doesn’t heal properly, having a root canal retreatment may be necessary.
Root Canal Retreatment
Retreatment When Your Tooth Failed to Heal
Root canal retreatment may be needed, if your tooth failed to heal or you are still experiencing pain from an original root canal. Through proper care and dental hygiene, your teeth that have had endodontic treatment may last a lifetime. However, occasionally a tooth that has received treatment may fail to heal or pain may continue to exist. Every root canal case is different and unique. Your dentist will take the time to discuss their findings with you and provide you with other options. In some instances, your dentist may recommend a root canal retreatment, which is almost identical to the original root canal procedure. Whenever possible, it is always best to save your natural tooth.
Improper healing is due to:
  • Complicated canal anatomy went undetected during initial treatment
  • Curved or narrow canals that were not treated during initial treatment
  • Infection from new decay that is exposed to the root canal
  • Cracked or loose filling/crown can expose the tooth to infection
  • Restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth
  • Delayed replacement crown or other restoration
What to Expect When Having a Root Canal Retreatment Procedure
If your dentist recommends a root canal retreatment, a local anesthetic will be administered and he or she will reopen your tooth to gain access to the canal. The filling material is removed and your dentist will clean the root canals and examine the inside of your tooth, searching for any additional canals or unusual anatomy that requires treatment. Once all bacteria and residual pulp tissue is removed, the tooth is then resealed and a temporary crown or filling is applied. At a later date, a permanent crown will be placed.
Schedule an Appointment Today if You are Feeling Tooth Discomfort

If you are feeling tooth discomfort in a tooth you previously had a root canal or other endodontic procedure, call our office today at (816) 478-1010. Check out our reviews from our amazing patients on our Google My Business page as well to get more comfortable with what you can expect at our office.