Root Canal Therapy in
Mission Viejo & Fullerton, CA
Root Canal Therapy and Microsurgery
OC Smile, Using Advanced Technology to Make Root Canals Easy
Root canals are needed when the pulp in a tooth is infected or inflamed, which can happen because of extreme tooth decay, because of a crack in the tooth, or because of some sort of trauma to it. Symptoms of infection include severe throbbing, pain in the tooth, or more generalized pain around the head and neck. If the condition isn’t treated quickly, the infection can damage the jaw and spread to other teeth.
Root canals are outpatient procedures done in OC Smile’s offices under local anesthesia. We will gently remove the decayed pulp, disinfect the area, and fill the cavity with specialized materials. Often, we will finish the procedure by putting a crown on the tooth to seal and protect it.
OC Smile Dental & Orthodontics uses modern microsurgery equipment that allows us to see incredible detail and work with precision when performing root canals, dental implants, and other procedures. In medicine, microsurgery is basically any sort of surgery that requires a microscope, and today’s Dental Operating Microscopes are a large advancement over previous technologies. Using fiber optic lighting, we can magnify surgical areas up to 20 times normal views. More traditional magnification instruments can only magnify up to 6 times normal vision, and Dental Operating Microscopes are more versatile and easier for us to use.
For our patients, this technology means we can be more precise and sparing with our incisions. That means less pain, swelling, and bleeding. Treatment is faster, outcomes are better, and recovery is quicker. At OC Smile, we embrace new technologies for the comfort of our patients.
The Main Causes for Root Canals
Root canal problems stem from infection and inflammation of the tooth’s pulp tissue. One potential cause of infection is deep tooth decay. Untreated dental cavities eventually allow bacteria to work their way down to the center of the tooth, where they may infect the pulp tissue. Another path by which bacteria may come into contact with pulp is via chipped or cracked teeth. Any opening in the protective enamel coating has the potential to allow bacteria access to the tooth’s pulp.
Trauma to the tooth — the kind that might result from a sports injury or automobile accident, for example — is also a major cause of pulp tissue damage. In this case, it’s essential to seek treatment immediately, both to try and save the tooth, and to prevent future problems.
In some cases, extensive dental work itself may cause damage to the pulp tissue that will need to be treated via a root canal. Having multiple fillings or restorations on the same tooth increases the chances of this type of injury. Occasionally, common procedures like crown preparation or orthodontics may eventually lead to root canal problems.
What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy
If an examination shows that you do need root canal therapy, don’t worry — it’s one of the most routine and effective procedures in the arsenal of dental treatments and can often be accomplished in just one visit.
The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does, and with no greater discomfort: an anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and the surrounding area. For many patients, the worst is already over.
Next, a small opening is made in the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. Tiny instruments are used, sometimes with the aid of a microscope, to remove the dead and dying pulp tissue from inside these narrow passageways. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material. Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection.
Following root canal treatment, your tooth may feel some sensitivity or tenderness for a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen are generally effective in relieving discomfort, but prescription medications may also be given if needed. During this period, it may help to avoid biting hard on the affected tooth. All of these symptoms, however, should be temporary.
To further protect the tooth and restore it to full function, it’s usually necessary to have a crown or other restoration placed on it. Restorations can take many forms, from traditional gold crowns to tooth replicas made of high-tech tooth-colored material. In any case, you will have made an investment in preserving your dental health for years to come.
What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy
How do you know when you need a root canal? Sometimes, it’s painfully obvious. If you feel constant and severe pain and pressure in your mouth, or noticeable swelling and extreme sensitivity in your gums, then it’s clear you need an evaluation and treatment right away. Another telltale symptom of pulp tissue damage is sharp pain when you bite down on food. Lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods is also an indication of potential trouble. If you notice any of these symptoms, you need to have an examination as soon as possible.