The word root canal often conjures up images of painful oral surgery and extractions, but the reality is far less scary. Joseph Schmidt, DDS, and the team at Masterpiece Smiles in the Westlake area of Austin, Texas, regularly perform root canals to preserve permanent teeth. If you suspect you need a root canal, call the office or book one online today.
A root canal is a procedure that’s designed to remove infected or inflamed tooth pulp. By removing this inflamed or infected tissue, you can save a natural tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.
Beneath the hard enamel surface of each tooth is a natural cavity called the “root canal.” Each root canal contains nerves and pulp that provide sensory sensations to your mouth whenever you eat and drink.
If you crack or chip a tooth, bacteria can seep through your enamel and make their way into your pulp chamber.
The warm, moist conditions of your mouth allow the bacteria to thrive, causing them to multiply and develop into an abscess. Left untreated, an abscess in the root canal of your tooth can cause:
In severe cases, infected tooth pulp can cause an open wound or ulcer to form on your jaw or cheek.
If you have severe tooth pain, Dr. Schmidt can determine the most effective way to relieve your pain and restore your natural tooth.
If Dr. Schmidt recommends a root canal, it can be due to a tooth infection, root damage, or because you’ve had multiple fillings performed on the same tooth. A root canal can save you from having to extract and replace your natural teeth.
Many patients think root canals are incredibly painful and time-consuming, but thanks to modern techniques and sedation dentistry, the process is quick and almost entirely pain-free.
First, it’s important to know that root canals require two separate visits. During your first appointment, Dr. Schmidt takes an X-ray of your teeth and gums to look for signs of infection. If inflammation is present, he may recommend a root canal and schedule your second appointment.
At your second appointment, Dr. Schmidt applies a topical anesthetic like Novacaine to numb your gums and affected tooth.
After the anesthesia sets in, Dr. Schmidt applies a rubber dam to the affected tooth so the surgical site remains dry during the procedure. Next, they drill a small hole in your tooth and carefully remove any infected pulp, bacteria, and debris.
Lastly, Dr. Schmidt seals your root canal with gutta-percha, a rubber-like substance that’s used to prevent further infection. He then bonds a crown to your tooth, preserving its strength and appearance.
After your root canal is complete, Dr. Schmidt provides you with a list of recovery instructions. Make sure to take your pain medication as prescribed and avoid biting down on or chewing with the affected tooth.
It’s perfectly normal to experience some swelling, irritation, and general discomfort. However, your symptoms should improve within a week’s time.
If you’re interested in finding out more about root canals, the Masterpiece Smiles team can help! Call the office to schedule a consultation or book one online today.