Archive for root canal treatment

What to expect from a root canal treatment

A root canal treatment is the most feared dental procedure and the butt of many a joke. But, the reality is, it should just be a long, boring filling. Endodontists have great numbing stuff to make sure you don’t feel anything and they can prescribe anxiolytics so you can relax during the procedure. And, the rule for Dr. Conner is if it hurts, she stops.

Zeiss dental microscope Dr. Conner uses a microscope and rubber dam for the procedure. The microscope lets her see into your canals (this is also useful for seeing cracks inside your tooth to determine if your tooth is restorable). The rubber dam ensures bacteria in your mouth do not contaminate the tooth once she disinfects it. That does mean your mouth will be covered so you will need to be able to breathe through your nose during the procedure.

We use digital radiographs (x-rays) that minimize your exposure to radiation. The amount of exposure is similar to your x-ray sensors

The worst pain is what people are feeling that drives them to an endodontist in the first place, not the actual root canal treatment. The good news is, once that nerve is gone the pain goes away, too. The bad news is if it took a while to get that painful, it might take a few days for everything to calm down. Other than that, you might be a little sore just because someone was working in your mouth. Some ibuprofen or Tylenol should take care of any discomfort from the procedure (your dentist or endodontist will tell you what to take).


Do I Really Need A Root Canal?!

infectionWhile there are other posts that get into the causes and reasons for needing a root canal treatment, here I want to address a common misconception. When someone is in excruciating pain, they understand the need for a root canal treatment. But, if they have just a little discomfort or no pain at all, they think they can put it off. Not true!

Whatever the cause, you need a root canal because there’s an infection in your tooth. Infections are bad. You may not even notice it, but your body does. It’s expending energy trying to deal with that infection.

Eventually, one of two things will happen (or both). One, it will stay in your tooth and cause excruciating pain. The bacteria just keep multiplying but there’s no where to go. The pressure just keeps building until you get it treated.

Second, it goes outside the tooth. Initially, it will erode the bone. That’s typically what your dentist sees that prompts them to evaluate the need for a root canal treatment. You may also have pain and swelling in the gums. It could also get into your bloodstream and become a much more serious issue than a painful tooth.

Either way, you want to take care of that infection. And, since your nerve and blood vessels are either dead or dying, they can’t deliver an oral antibiotic inside the tooth. That leaves root canal treatment as your best way to get rid of the infection (the alternative is extracting the tooth).

But, you say, I took an antibiotic and I feel better. That’s because it took care of the infection outside your tooth. The cause of the infection remains which means it will be back!

Patient root canal experience

Here’s what one patient had to say about her root canal treatment experience. We have other videos on our YouTube channel. Looks like it’s time to get more, too!

A brain on root canal treatment

thebrain-logoIf you haven’t seen the software Personal Brain, I hope you’re in for a treat. I’ve created a brain on endondontics. I’ve tried to cover all the common topics and issues. If there are any I missed, let me know.

And, have fun exploring the other brains on the site. There are some amazing examples of what you can do with the software. I use it myself in my role as practice manager and for all my personal stuff. For example, I know one day I want to write a book so I’ve started collecting ideas, stories, and more so I’ll have plenty of material to get started when I’m ready.

Science and art to endodontics

This is an interesting post by Dan Burrus entitled There is a science and an art to every profession. Dr. Conner, like the other endodontists in the area, has been trained in the science of root canal treatments. Through annual continuing education, she stays current in this science. Additionally, she has always striven to grow in the art of endodontics. She is passionate about accurate diagnosis and providing a great patient experience. It’s good to see this described so effectively by someone.

Tooth pain only gets worse

woman wtih toothacheOne of the most common things I see in our Durham Endodontics practice is someone who has had aching or slight tooth pain for months (sometimes years). Then, presto, they are in excruciating pain and in need of emergency root canal treatment (it really can go from a pain level 2 to a 10 in just hours). Fortunately, for our patients, we keep time for emergency appointments every day.

However, one common problem — you’re in too much pain for the anesthetic to work. So, first we need to get the pain under control.

My advice is…don’t wait. Tooth pain only gets worse. Tooth decay or a nerve that is dying does not spontaneously heal itself. So, go to your dentist at the early stage of a toothache. Maybe, you won’t even need a root canal treatment. If you wait, at least we have those emergency appointments.

Root canal description video

This video is an overall description of what you can expect when you get a root canal treatment as presented by our assistant, Kris. It includes an inset video of Dr. Conner actually working on a patient. If you like it, give it a thumbs up on our YouTube channel.