Root Canal Therapy for Lititz
There are toothaches and then there are toothaches. Sometimes your tooth may hurt because there is a particle of food wedged between two teeth. Maybe you bit down on something hard and the tooth is still a bit sore. But if you have a lingering toothache and experience continuing sensitivity to hot or cold, then the pain and discomfort may be a sign of an infected tooth. If this is the case, then restorative dentist, Dr. Moriarty, may recommend a root canal, a procedure that removes the infection and restores functionality to your tooth.
To understand why a root canal may be necessary, let’s first examine the structure of a tooth. Enamel—the hardest material in the human body—surrounds each one of your teeth. Under the enamel is dentin, a softer and more sensitive layer. Finally, at the center of each tooth is the pulp chamber, which contains blood vessels as well as lymph and nerve tissue. Normally, the enamel and dentin layers shield this chamber and its attached root canals from bacteria that can cause infection. However, if a tooth is severely decayed or damaged by traumatic injury, then bacteria may have access to the pulp chamber where a painful infection can develop.
Other than pain, which is often severe, other signs and symptoms that a root canal may be necessary include:
- Gum swelling near the tooth that looks like a pimple
- Facial swelling on the side of the face
- Swollen glands in your neck
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Bad breath
- A foul taste in your mouth
- Fever or general malaise
Root Canal Procedure
To preserve your tooth and restore its function, Dr. Moriarty needs to remove the infection with root canal therapy. The first step to this procedure is making sure you, the patient, are comfortable and relaxed. We understand that a dental procedure such as a root canal can make some people anxious, which is why we offer sedation dentistry. Please don’t hesitate to talk to us if you’d like to consider sedation.
Once you’re settled and the site is anesthetized, Dr. Moriarty will access the pulp chamber and root canals to completely remove all signs of infection and contents of the chamber. Fortunately, a tooth can function perfectly well without the blood, nerve and lymph tissue that normally live here. After being cleaned and disinfected, the space is filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha, which expands to fill the chamber. The access hole is filled and a temporary crown is placed to protect the tooth.
After a root canal, some soreness is normal. An over-the-counter pain reliever is usually sufficient to alleviate any discomfort. In addition, Dr. Moriarty may want you to take an antibiotic to ensure the complete elimination of infection. After a couple of weeks, you’ll return to Mor Smiles where we’ll cement a permanent crown into place. With this, your tooth will be sealed from further infection and you’ll be able to use your tooth as normal without any pain.
If you would like to learn more about root canal therapy in Lititz, PA, and the Lancaster area, please contact Mor Smiles today.