Root Canal

If you have a toothache or have been told that you need a root canal, don’t sweat it! With this Dentist Edmond OK, a root canal can most often be done painlessly with very little post op discomfort. Dr. Tucker and his staff provide immediate pain relief and strive to get patients treated as soon as possible. When it comes to root canals, we commonly find that many patients don’t know exactly what a root canal is. A very important point to understand is that by having a root canal, you are going to be able to keep the affected tooth. With this procedure, we are not “removing the root”, which is a common misconception. Instead, this Dentist Edmond OK are actually just cleaning out the canal that is already there. The analogy we use in explaining this procedure to our patients is a pencil. If you think of the root of the tooth as a pencil and the nerve canal as the pencil lead, a root canal is simply cleaning the lead out of the pencil. A bit of an oversimplification, but this analogy helps patients better understand what root canal treatment is and feel more comfortable with the idea of getting it done. We encourage this treatment option whenever possible so as to avoid losing a tooth unnecessarily. It is also worth mentioning that once a tooth is root canal treated, a Crown is typically necessary. Using a crown to provide full coverage of the weakened tooth helps to ensure that the tooth will last for many years.

Signs and Symptoms that you may need a root canal include: Sensitivity that lingers to cold or hot, Biting or Percussion tenderness, Spontaneous aching, pain, or Throbbing. Many times a root canal is required by your Dentist Edmond OK have a big cavity, or if the tooth is badly broken. At times, an x-ray will show a large cavity encroaching on the nerve even if you are not yet experiencing any discomfort.

Tooth Decay or Cavities are by far the most common reason for needing a root canal. Most Dentist Edmond OK know that all cavities start small and continue to get bigger over time. The two most common types of cavities are referred to as Class I and Class II decay. Class I are cavities that start in the grooves on the biting surfaces of your back teeth. This is the type of decay most people think of when we say the word cavity. Class I cavities often start off appearing as a stain or as dark lines in the grooves of the tooth. When they are advanced enough, they can often be seen by a Dentist Edmond OK looking in the mouth. These types of cavities can often be detected with a dental instrument called an explorer as well. When probed with an explorer, the cavity is commonly soft or sticky as opposed to hard like healthy enamel. A large Class I cavity can look small from the surface but this is often just the tip of the iceberg. Many times when a Class I cavity is opened and cleaned out, it is considerably deeper than expected. The decay is typically deeper than an x-ray suggests.

Class II decay is the kind of cavity that starts between the teeth where you floss. This type of cavity typically cannot be seen by a Dentist Edmond OK looking in the mouth. Only more advanced Class II decay is likely to be seen by looking in the mouth. Class II decay is most often detected by bitewing x-rays. A Class II cavity can take a long time to form and make its way through the enamel. However, once a small cavity makes it way through the enamel, it can then begin to spread very quickly. Often times, this is the kind of cavity that sneaks up on a patient that hasn’t had x-rays taken for a long period of time. Upon visual inspection, teeth can look perfectly normal while having a large Class II cavity that requires a root canal. This kind of cavity is also often responsible for a tooth that breaks spontaneously when a patient is chewing. When a large Class II cavity is present, the tooth is very weak because it is basically hollow. As a result, the tooth essentially caves in when biting force is applied. Then, upon a Dentist Edmond OK x-ray inspection of the tooth, a very large Class II cavity is revealed. This is the single most common scenario that plays out in our office and necessitates a root canal.

Lingering pain or sensitivity is another common reason to have a root canal. Sometimes a tooth just starts to hurt. Maybe the tooth was previously sensitive. Often, it is a tooth that has had dental work in the recent or distant past. Significant pain in response to temperature or biting is the most common complaint reported by patients. These teeth can look normal on an x-ray, Dentist Edmond OK, but the pain experienced by the patient can necessitate a root canal. These teeth can be experiencing a combination of Pulpitis, apical periodontitis, necrotic pulp. This is the second most common scenario we see in our office for patients that require root canal treatment. Typically, the affected tooth has been worked on previously, once or multiple times with large fillings or a crown.

Cracked teeth are another common reason for having a root canal. Cracks come in all shapes and sizes and can be difficult to see and diagnose. Surface cracks are present on the teeth of many people and typically don’t cause an issue. Deeper cracks that propagate down the side of a tooth are more problematic for Dentist Edmond OK. In extreme cases, a tooth will have a vertical fracture that ruins the tooth. In the case of vertical fracture, pain is often present and sometimes bone loss is revealed on an x-ray. The crack itself rarely shows on an x-ray. This is important to know and it makes the diagnosis more difficult.

Symptoms of a cracked tooth include biting tenderness, cold sensitivity, pain, throbbing. The hallmark sign of a cracked tooth is when you experience pain when opening after you’ve bitten firmly on something. The pain is experienced on the release of the pressure force as opposed to the biting down force. Symptoms do vary from person to person. When a crack does extend the full length of the tooth to a vertical fracture the tooth must be extracted. If you desire to save a cracked tooth, a Crown and/or Root canal should be performed by a Dentist Edmond OK before the crack gets worse.

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