Root canals and treatment information

Root canal

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure in which the diseased or damaged nerve of a tooth is removed so that the tooth can be saved or restored. The procedure generally involves the removal and replacement of a tooth’s pulp (the soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue).

If a pulp becomes damaged through disease or injury and cannot repair itself, bacteria and their products can leak into the pulp and cause the pulp to die. From there, if a root canal procedure is not performed, an abscess can form at the tip of the root and cause pain.
Causes of an infected pulp could include a deep cavity, repeated dental exposure, injury to the tooth, or a cracked or broken tooth; all of which can be pretty painful.

When you come see us, this is generally what we will do to fix the problem:
• You will receive local anesthesia for comfort
• The affected tooth will be isolated from saliva with a rubberlike sheet called a dam
• An opening is made through the crown of the tooth and the pulp is removed
• We will place a temporary filling is placed in the crown to keep saliva out
• We may prescribe antibiotics if there an infection present and it has spread beyond the end of the roots

On the next visit:
• We will remove the filling
• The root canal is filled and permanently sealed, with either metal or plastic post

How can you avoid a root canal?
• Brush your teeth two times per day with a soft-bristled brush
• Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, sooner if bristles are frayed
• Use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
• Clean between teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner
• Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks
• Visit us regularly for professional cleaning and exams. Click here to set up an appointment, or call 239-936-0597

Remember, even after having a root canal, be sure to take care of your teeth with the steps above to avoid needing another one.

Root canals can be uncomfortable, but so can an infected tooth. If you are having issues with your teeth, please contact us for a consultation so we can determine the cause and resolve the issue for you!

Contact us at info@myfortmyersdentist.com or call 239-936-0597 to set up an appointment today!

Healing after extractions and oral surgery

One of the most important aspects of oral surgery is the healing process. It is crucial to follow orders provided by your doctor after your surgery, or you put yourself at a high risk for infection. Here are a few guidelines to make sure you reduce your risk of infection after extractions or other oral surgery:

R&R: Rest and Recovery are two of the most important things to keep in mind after having oral surgery. If you had surgery on your leg, would you go and walk two miles the next day? I don’t think so. The same goes for your mouth. You should be resting for at least two days after having oral surgery, which means no physical activity for at least two to three days post-surgery. Resting is integral to a healthy and non-infected mouth after surgery.

Bleeding: Bleeding after having oral surgery is completely normal; don’t worry! Your dentist or oral surgeon should provide you with tips on how to clean your mouth up without hurting you in the process. After having oral surgery, gauze may be given to you for placement on a specific area in your mouth and pressure may need to be applied as well. One recommendation for how to apply needed pressure is to gently bite down on the area where your gauze has been placed to apply proper pressure. The last thing you want to do is put fingers in your mouth after having surgery. Your gauze may need to be changed every 30 to 45 minutes depending on the severity of the blood. Remember, bleeding is normal for the first day or so, however, if it continues after two days or appears excessive, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.

Swelling: Swelling and sometimes bruising can occur, especially when getting your “Wisdom Teeth” removed. The worst swelling and bruising normally occurs two to three days after the surgery. After your surgery, ice packs may be applied for 15 minutes on then 15 minutes off until you go to bed, which will keep your swelling to a minimum. Also, when you go to bed, keeping your head elevated, at least for the first night or two could help with easing any discomfort and further reduce swelling. Just like when anything else is swollen, you are to keep it elevated. Control your mouth swelling by keeping your head up for the first couple of nights.

Hygiene: Don’t be tempted to rinse or spit for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. After the first 24 hours, lightly gargling, or gently rinsing, four times a day using warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water) is also recommended. Do this after every meal. Whatever you do, don’t use mouthwash.

For more information on good dental hygiene after surgery, visit our website at www.MyFortMyersDentist.com to find out how we can help you.