End Tooth Pain with Root Canal Therapy
Root canals are very common procedures. Over 15 million people in America have a root canal every single year. Modern root canals are minimally-invasive and relatively painless. Despite these facts, they have a bit of a bad reputation. But there’s nothing to fear at the office of Douglas G. Hope, DDS, FAGD. If you need root canal therapy in Escondido, Dr. Hope is one of the best dentists in town.
The Signs Of An Infected Tooth
The most common and obvious sign of an infected tooth is a serious, prolonged toothache. If you notice that your tooth hurts, and it is painful for more than a day or two, you could have an infected tooth. This is particularly true if you notice that the pain is throbbing, and radiating into your jaw, neck or ear.
However, toothaches are not the only common sign of an infected tooth. Some other signs include:
- Increased sensitivity to pressure when biting and chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Swelling and redness around the infected tooth
- Tenderness and swelling in the face and neck
If you notice any of these signs, make sure that you come to the office of Dr. Douglas G. Hope right away to get a professional assessment of your oral health. An infected tooth is a serious dental emergency, so don’t hesitate to come in for a same-day emergency appointment.
How Does a Tooth Become Infected?
A tooth becomes infected when the nerve and blood vessel-filled “pulp” is exposed to the bacteria in the mouth. Usually, this happens when a tooth is damaged. Tooth decay is the most common cause of a tooth infection. If a cavity is left untreated and gets bigger, acids will wear down the tooth’s outer layers and allow bacteria to get into the interior of the tooth.
However, an oral injury, chip, or crack in the tooth can also expose the pulp and cause an infection. If you suspect one of your teeth was damaged in an accident, get an oral exam right away, even if it does not seem serious at the moment.
Why Is It Important To Get A Root Canal Right Away?
First and foremost, getting root canal therapy treatment will mitigate your discomfort and pain. An infected tooth can cause an excruciating toothache, and a root canal is the best way to remove the infected tooth material, replace it, and restore your tooth to health. After a root canal, you’ll also be able to chew, eat, and speak normally again, without the sensitivity, pain, and discomfort of an infected tooth affecting your day-to-day life.
The sooner you get help, the better the outcome will be for your damaged tooth. If you let your tooth go without treatment, the infection could become irreversible, requiring the extraction and replacement of your tooth with a dental bridge, dental implant, or denture. Replacing a tooth takes much longer and is much more expensive than treating an infection with root canal therapy.
If you suspect that you have an infected tooth, contact us for an appointment right away and get the help you need to save your tooth and preserve your smile.
Understanding Root Canals
Root canal therapy is required for patients who are suffering from significant levels of tooth decay. If you have an untreated cavity, the infection can spread to the nerve “pulp” that is below the hard enamel and dentin of your tooth.
When this pulp becomes inflamed, it can be very painful. If this condition is left untreated, the tooth will “rot” from the inside out.
Root canal therapy removes the infected pulp and all of the bacteria present in your tooth. Then, the tooth is filled or capped, and the procedure is complete. In fact, the entire process is similar to that of a dental filling.
Root Canal Process
Dr. Hope will begin by cleaning your tooth, and then isolating it with a dental dam. A drill is used to make a small opening in the enamel, allowing access to the infected tissue and pulp. Then, small tools are used to scrape away all of the infected pulp within the tooth.
After this, a disinfectant is used to clean the inside of the tooth, and a material called “gutta percha”, which is very rubberlike and strong, is used to fill the tooth. This material simulates the original pulp, providing structure and support.
Finally, a filling or temporary crown is put in place. You’ll come back in a few weeks for a permanent crown, once the tooth has healed. There is minimal pain and discomfort, and the procedure can usually be done within 90 minutes.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
- Prevents tooth loss – If you do not treat an infected tooth, it’s only a matter of time before it dies and falls out. If this happens, an expensive tooth restoration such as a dental bridge, partial denture, or a dental implant will be required. And if you choose to not restore your missing tooth, you may suffer from bite problems, teeth shifting, and a number of other oral health issues.
- Relieves pain from toothache – An infected tooth is incredibly painful, and can seriously impact your day-to-day life. A root canal is the only way to relieve the pain of a severely infected tooth.
- Inexpensive and covered by most dental plans – A root canal is typically covered by dental insurance providers. And the cost is much less expensive than a dental implant or a dental bridge.
Dental Services in Escondido
If you are suffering from a toothache, have noticed increased sensitivity to heat and cold, or are having trouble chewing, you may have an infected tooth.
Schedule a root canal in San Marcos or Escondido with Dr. Douglas Hope today. The sooner you get treatment, the more likely we are to be able to save your tooth, and relieve the pain of your toothache. See our testimonials to learn more about our approach to restorative dentistry and endodontics.
Contact us today for an appointment at (760) 480-8883, or come to visit us in person at 511 East 2nd Avenue, Escondido, CA 92025.
What Should You Do After a Root Canal?
After receiving a root canal, it is normal to feel tenderness and sensitivity in the tooth that was treated for a few days once the anesthetic wears off. You can take anti-inflammatory pain medication to ease your discomfort and may want to avoid foods and drinks at extreme temperatures for the first few days.
If you are prescribed antibiotics, take them as instructed. Some swelling may be present for the first couple of days. You can apply a cold pack to your jaw to reduce the swelling. You will need to wait until the anesthetic wears off completely before eating and consuming hot liquids.
This will avoid any accidental injuries. Once your mouth is no longer numb, stick to soft foods for the first 1 to 2 days and avoid hard, sticky, and crunchy foods. To avoid irritating the affected tooth, chew on the other side of your mouth.
Rinse your mouth 3 times a day with a saltwater solution to reduce swelling and discomfort. After getting a root canal, you can return to regular brushing and flossing but just be careful and gentle around the tooth that received a root canal.
How Long Are You Out of Work After a Root Canal?
A root canal is a minimally invasive treatment and is not as invasive as oral surgery like a tooth extraction or dental implant. Patients will need minimal recovery time after a root canal. Most patients can expect to return to normal activities right away and likely won’t need to take any time off from work except to get the procedure done.
After receiving a root canal, take the rest of the day to rest, eat properly, and treat your symptoms. The next day, you should be able to return to work, but avoid strenuous activity and exercise for the first 24 hours.
How Long Does a Root Canal Usually Take?
A root canal typically takes 1 to 2 appointments to complete depending on the location of the tooth, the severity of the infection, how many canals the tooth has, and if the patient is receiving a dental crown. On average, the process takes 30 to 60 minutes but it can take up to 90 minutes on larger teeth or teeth with complex anatomy such as having multiple tooth roots.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
A root canal is a restorative treatment used to treat an infection by removing the infected tissue inside of the tooth, cleaning the canals, replacing the missing dental pulp with a filling, and then protecting the tooth with a crown.
The first stage of a root canal is the pulpectomy. Dr. Hope will first numb your mouth with local anesthesia so you don’t feel any discomfort. Then, we will drill a hole to gain access to your tooth’s pulp so we can scrape it out along with the roots to remove the infection.
After removing the infected tissue, all of your tooth’s canals (which can range from 1 to 4) are thoroughly sanitized to remove bacteria and they’re shaped to prepare them for the filling. Gutta-percha is then used to replace the missing dental pulp and restore the inside structure of the tooth. After sealing the access hole, the tooth is protected with a dental crown.
"Dr. Hope has been my dentist for over 7 years. I wouldn't go anywhere else. I trusted him to do significant veneer work several years ago. My smile changed and I have been very happy with the results."
“Dr. Hope and his team are a great mix. They work well together and are very aware on making sure you have as little pain as possible. My family has been going for years and wouldn't go anywhere else.”
“I've been a patient at Dr. Hope's office for almost 15 years and have referred several of my friends. The hygienists have always been super friendly and gentle. In addition to typical dental work and my regular cleanings, I did Invisalign and was very happy with the whole process. ”
“Dr. Hope and his staff are the best. I have been a patient there since he took over the practice from Dr. Chatton. I'm not sure how long but I've been seeing Dr. Hope for at least 10 years or more. He is a great dentist who is very knowledgeable and has the most up to date equipment.”
“Dr. Hope & his staff are always so welcoming and professional. They make you feel like family and they make it a point to get to know you personally. The reason I decided to give Dr. Hope my business was because I found out that he gave back to our community.”
“Dr. Hope and his wonderful Staff are just the BEST!!! Dr. Hope and his awesome assistant, George, are very attentive, compassionate, accommodating, caring, funny, but first and foremost HONEST!!!”
“Dr. Hope and his team are wonderful! He is an amazing dentist! Everyone is so nice! I am always welcomed with big smiling faces! I will refer everyone I know to his office!”
“I have been going to Dr. Hope for quite some time now, and always feel so at ease. Dr. Hope is funny and just makes you feel relaxed while there! This is a very friendly office and as long as I'm living anywhere near San Diego I will be going to this dental practice, hopefully Dr. Hope won't be retiring any time soon (he's too young)!!!”
“We always feel like family when in Dr. Hopes office. Each staff member treats us with professionalism and with the best personalized care. They have helped my sensitivity problem to be non existent with the treatments they provide.”