Save your teeth and your smile from infection
If your tooth becomes infected, it’s essential to seek treatment before the infection reaches the root, as it may need to be extracted. Extraction is less than ideal, as you may become more vulnerable to oral health issues. Conversely, failing to seek treatment for infected teeth allows the infection to spread to other parts of your body and endanger your overall health.
Fortunately, at Gentle Family Dentistry, if the infection is detected soon enough, Dr. Garger can save the tooth from extraction using root canal therapy.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
To fully understand how root canal therapy works, it helps to understand the three layers of the tooth:
- The hard, outermost layer is called the enamel.
- The second layer is called the dentin.
- The third layer is a collection of living tissues, nerves, and roots called the dental pulp. The dental pulp is housed in the hollow spaces of your teeth, called root canals.
Damage due to decay or dental trauma can allow bacteria in your mouth to penetrate the enamel, pass through the dentin, and reach the dental pulp. Once that bacteria has reached those living tissues, infection will begin to set in. Root canal therapy is the process of cleaning out all decayed and infected material from the inside of a tooth to sterilize it and prevent reinfection.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
If you have a tooth infection that’s progressed to a certain point, root canal therapy shouldn’t be neglected. Some benefits of the procedure include:
- Saving teeth from extraction
- Eliminating the need for more costly restorations and invasive procedures
- Eliminating pain and irritation caused by damage and infection
- Preventing the infection from spreading
- Preventing further tooth decay and tooth loss
- Helping to enhance and preserve your oral and overall health
Signs that you may need a Root Canal
To accurately evaluate the state of your smile, you’ll need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garger at our Bakersfield office. However, there are common signs that you may need a root canal that you should be on the lookout for, such as:
- Difficulty chewing
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Dental trauma
- Damage to the soft tissue and bone surrounding the tooth
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Severe tooth pain
- Loosening of the tooth
- Swollen gums or abscesses on the gums
The Root Canal Therapy process
Step 1: Initial Consultation
Before you undergo any dental procedures, you’ll attend a consultation with Dr. Garger. During your consultation, Dr. Garger will thoroughly examine your mouth to determine the severity of your infection. He’ll also review your medical history and discuss your oral health goals with you. Once you and Dr. Garger both agree to proceed with root canal therapy, we’ll schedule you for your next appointment.
Step 2: Preparation
First, we’ll perform a meticulous cleaning of your mouth to rid it of debris. Then, we’ll numb the area around the affected tooth using a local anesthetic. To ensure that no saliva enters the tooth during the procedure, we’ll place a rubber dam around it.
Step 3: Root Canal Therapy
Dr. Garger will access your tooth’s pulp using specialized dental tools. He’ll then use a specialized tool and a disinfecting solution to clean out any decayed enamel and infected material.
Step 4: Post & Core Buildup
After the tooth is completely sterilized, Dr. Garger will perform post and core buildup to reinforce the tooth’s structure. During this process, small rods are inserted into the root canals of the tooth. These rods will help hold a dental filling, or core, in place. To further support the crown, Dr. Garger will replace lost tooth material using composite materials.
Step 5: Placing a Crown
A common mistake patients make after root canal therapy is to neglect to have a dental crown installed. Dr. Garger highly recommends installing a dental crown to minimize the possibility of further damage. To install the crown, Dr. Garger will shape the natural tooth into a base before placing the crown with a special dental adhesive.
Frequently Asked Questions
Your tooth doesn’t have to hurt before you need a root canal. There are other signs that your tooth has become infected, such as discoloration of the gums. Additionally, an infected tooth that doesn’t hurt may indicate that the nerves are completely gone. If you suspect you have an infection, call our Bakersfield office at 661-664-9900 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
At Gentle Family Dentistry, your health and safety are our top priorities. We’ll use an anesthetic as needed to ensure you don’t feel any pain during your procedure. In cases where the nerves have been destroyed by infection, an anesthetic may not be necessary.
After your root canal procedure, some mild discomfort is normal. However, any pain should go away within a few days and is usually easy to manage with cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medication.
If your tooth still hurts after a few days, call our Bakersfield office immediately at 661-664-9900. Dr. Garger and the rest of the team at Gentle Family Dentistry will do what we can to solve any issues you may be having and ensure your treatment goes smoothly.
The cost of your root canal therapy will depend on a number of factors such as the complexity of your procedure, the number of teeth that require root canal therapy, and your insurance. We will work with your insurance provider to help ensure you get the treatment you need when you need it. We also offer financing options and accept third-party financing such as CareCredit to help make the procedure more affordable.
In some cases, infections can be cleared up through the use of antibiotics, but the only way to know for certain which treatment will work is to talk to Dr. Garger and have a dental exam performed at Gentle Family Dentistry.
Root Canal Therapy From Gentle Family Dentistry Can Save Your Smile
If you develop a tooth infection, extraction doesn’t have to be the only option. When the infection is caught quickly enough, Dr. Garger can use root canal therapy to help save your natural teeth and eliminate the need for more expensive, invasive restorations.
To learn more about the benefits of root canal therapy, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garger at Gentle Family Dentistry’s Bakersfield office, dial 661-664-9900. You can also book an appointment online and a friendly staff member will get back to you shortly.