Signs You May Need a Root Canal

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Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Root CanalRoot canal therapy--many people receive it, bringing diseased teeth back to full health. A great alternative to dental extraction, a root canal spares hard outer structure of a tooth, while removing unhealthy pulp in its interior. Your dentist in Lumberton, NC, Dr. Colin Osborne, III, performs this effective restoration right in his office. Do you need a root canal?

What does root canal therapy involve?

After careful examination and X-ray imaging of an infected, cracked, or extensively decayed tooth, your Lumberton dentist can tell if it would benefit from root canal therapy. Also called endodontic therapy, a root canal procedure takes two, or sometimes three, dental visits and usually needs only locally-injected medication to numb the tooth. The end result is a strong, fully functional tooth.

To start, Dr. Osborne creates an access hole into the first of up to four root canals, the interior chambers which run from the crown of the tooth into each of the roots. The canals contain blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, and while important to the tooth during its development, an adult tooth can perform without these tissues.

Dr. Osborne uses small metal files to remove the pulp. He smooths the canal walls and instills antibiotics to quell infection. An inert putty called gutta-percha seals the canal and also strengthens the overall tooth structure. A temporary filling or crown normalizes the tooth's appearance as it heals.

After a week or so, you return to the office and your dentist removes the temporary restoration and places a permanent, customized crown. The crown covers the tooth from the top to the gum line.

Do you need a root canal treatment?

If your tooth is in danger of failing or you are contemplating extraction, you may benefit from endodontic therapy. Signs you need this procedure include:

  • Pain upon chewing
  • A throbbing toothache
  • Enamel discoloration
  • An obvious crack or chip
  • A pimple on the gums
  • Gum swelling
  • Drainage from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Lasting and intense dental sensitivity to heat, cold, or pressure

Caring for your restored tooth

After root canal therapy, care for your tooth just as you do your other teeth:

  • Brush twice a day (the American Dental Association advises a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste).
  • Floss daily to remove plaque.
  • Eat a nutritious diet and stay hydrated.
  • See your dentist twice a year for exams and professional cleanings.

With your diligent home hygiene habits, combined with in-office care, your restored tooth should last for years or even the rest of your life.

Call now

If you're worried about the health of a tooth, don't delay. Contact Dr. Osborne today for a consultation in Lumberton, NC: (910) 738-9396. We look forward to helping you achieve your best possible oral health.

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