When infection or decay affects the innermost layers of a tooth, extraction is sometimes necessary. However, it is possible to preserve the affected tooth with root canal treatment. Dr. John Chu and Dr. Mary Lin, the experienced dentists at our office in South Pasadena, CA, can determine if a root canal is needed and explain how to care for your tooth following treatment.
Signs a Root Canal is Needed
Certain symptoms can be an indication that a tooth is severely infected or decayed and could possibly benefit from root canal treatment. The best way to determine if a root canal is needed is to undergo a thorough oral exam that includes taking x-ray images. See a dentist promptly if you develop any of the following signs that a root canal might be needed:
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a bit like having a cavity filled. A primary difference between the two procedures is that only the outer layers of a tooth require attention when treating cavities. Root canal treatment is needed when the innermost layer of a tooth is infected or plagued by decay. A soft material called pulp can be found at the center of a tooth and also extends down into the canals of the root. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the infected or decaying pulp.
Once the pulp has been removed from the center of the tooth and the canals of the root, the interior of the tooth and root are thoroughly cleaned. Afterward, the tooth is filled in and sealed. After the area has completely healed, a dental crown can be placed over the restored tooth to strengthen and protect it. The skilled dentists at our office in South Pasadena can determine if root canal treatment can restore your damaged or infected tooth.
Following root canal treatment, the restored tooth and surrounding gums will need time to heal. Prescription or over-the-counter medication can be taken to reduce swelling and alleviate any pain or discomfort. It is also beneficial to rinse the mouth with warm salt water several times a day for a few days to promote circulation and speed up the healing process.
It is normal to feel some pain or discomfort for a few days following root canal treatment. Some steps you can take to avoid aggravating the affected area as it heals include chewing food on the opposite side of the mouth for a few days. It is also best to avoid chewing gum or other sticky foods, as well as biting into hard foods or substances, such as ice cubes. Finally, be sure to continue your normal brushing and flossing routine to keep the mouth clean.
Root canal treatment can save an infected or decaying tooth. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Chu or Dr. Lin to learn more about root canals by calling our office in South Pasadena at (626) 799-0852.