Have you ever experienced an excruciating toothache that feels like it’s taking over your life? You’re not alone—thousands of people in the United States go through pain from tooth infections. And, for many people, the thought of getting a root canal is deeply distressing. Did you know that, according to the American Association of Endodontists, 41% of people would rather go swimming with sharks than get a root canal? Talk about a scary thought! The good news is that many people suffering from the agony of untreated infections have found relief in this surprisingly painless procedure.
If the thought of a root canal still has your spine tingling, fear not! It’s much less scary than outdated childhood myths would have you believe. For those suffering from persistent tooth pain and sensitivity, a root canal can significantly improve not only your dental health but also your quality of life.
Understanding Root Canals
A root canal is a dental procedure designed to eliminate bacteria lurking within the canals inside your tooth. Removing the bacteria not only saves the natural tooth but also prevents future infections. During the procedure, Dr. Zirakian removes the inflamed pulp within the tooth and thoroughly cleans and disinfects its inner surfaces. Then, the empty canals are refilled and capped with a seal to prevent further infection.
When Do You Need a Root Canal?
Tooth infections that require root canal therapy often come with unmistakable signs. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to consider this procedure:
- Persistent tooth pain
- Swollen gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- The emergence of a pimple on your gums
- Tooth discoloration
- Loose teeth
Typically, tooth infections that require root canals develop when cavities are left untreated for an extended period, allowing bacteria to infiltrate the tooth’s pulp.
The Benefits of Root Canals
Root canal therapy offers numerous benefits:
- Tooth preservation: Root canals can prevent tooth extraction, maintaining the natural alignment of your teeth. Losing a tooth can trigger changes in the way your other teeth are positioned, which can affect your bite and smile.
- Preventing jawbone loss: Your jawbone relies on stimulation from tooth roots to stay healthy. Once a tooth is extracted, the lack of a root can lead to bone and tissue loss.
- Halting the spread of infection: An infected tooth can easily spread bacteria to neighboring teeth and gums. Root canal therapy eliminates the damaged pulp, stopping the infection from advancing.
- Quick relief: Root canals offer swift relief from pain, typically in just one appointment.
- Affordability: A root canal is generally more affordable than tooth extraction and replacement with dental implants or bridges.
- Maintaining your natural smile: The goal of a root canal is to save your tooth, not replace it, ensuring you keep your natural smile.
Starting Your Root Canal Journey
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a tooth infection, Dr. Zirakian is here to help you decide on the procedure that’s best for you. It all begins with a free consultation during which we will examine your teeth, take X-rays to identify the problem, and determine the best treatment plan. Your medical history, medications, and oral hygiene routine will also be discussed.
If a root canal is the best course of action, Dr. Zirakian will discuss what you can expect from the procedure as well as the costs of treatment. Most dental insurance plans provide coverage for at least a portion of root canal expenses. For those without insurance, our practice offers in-house financing and other solutions to ensure you can access the treatment you need.
The Root Canal Procedure
From beginning to end, our root canal procedure is designed with your care and comfort in mind.
- Anesthesia: Dr. Zirakian will begin by numbing the affected tooth and the surrounding gum with a local anesthetic, ensuring you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.
- Isolation: A small rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth, keeping it dry.
- Access: A small opening is made at the top of the tooth, providing access to the pulp.
- Pulp removal: The infected pulp is carefully removed, and the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and shaped.
- Filling: The empty canals are filled with a dental material called gutta-percha, sealing the tooth and preventing reinfection.
- Temporary crown: In most cases, a dental crown is required to protect the tooth after root canal therapy. While you wait for your custom-made crown from the lab, a temporary one is provided.
Recovery and Maintenance
Recovery from a root canal typically takes less than a week. During this time, we recommend sticking to softer foods, such as pasta, yogurt, and soup. Avoid putting excessive pressure on the treated tooth by chewing ice or biting your nails, and refrain from chewing on the side of your mouth that was treated. Over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses can help manage any discomfort.
Maintaining your crown helps to preserve your oral health. Regular brushing and flossing are important, especially to remove food particles from between the crown and the tooth. Avoiding very sticky or hard foods, as well as habits like teeth grinding, will help preserve the crown’s integrity. If you do grind your teeth, talk to Dr. Zirakian about the possibility of wearing a mouthguard at night.
Seeking Help for Infected Teeth
Tooth pain, gum swelling, and tooth discoloration should never be ignored. These are signs of an oral infection that requires prompt treatment. Root canal therapy offers a fast procedure with minimal recovery time, allowing you to regain your quality of life without delay.
At East Longmeadow Family Dental Center, Dr. Zirakian is ready to provide compassionate and effective treatment. With nearly four decades of experience and access to cutting-edge dental technologies, he has helped countless patients like you find relief from dental discomfort.
Don’t let the old-fashioned fear of a root canal dictate your life any longer. If you’re suffering from untreated tooth pain, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Zirakian in East Longmeadow, MA, today.