Root Canal Treatment
Brazos Valley Endodontic Associates provides root canal treatment services to patients in Bryan/College Station and the surrounding communities. Contact (979) 776-6152 to learn more or schedule your appointment.
Root canal treatment is a procedure to relieve dental pain and save your teeth. Patients typically need a root canal when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. This may occur as the result of a deep cavity, traumatic injury, cracked teeth, or dental procedures near the pulp when a filling or crown has been placed.
Symptoms that may indicate you need a root canal include:
- pain or sensitivity to hot and/or cold
- spontaneous pain
- pain in response to pressure or biting
- dull ache
- sharp shooting pain
- facial swelling
If you have recently had a root canal procedure by Dr. Hays or Dr. Calkins, home care instructions can be found below:
What should I expect after my root canal?
The following advice is offered to minimize the amount of discomfort or any inconvenience, which may follow an endodontic procedure. These are suggestions, not absolute requirements, for every case. Some of the comments may not apply to your specific situation.
Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be sore for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment. As a general rule, if you had pain prior to the treatment then you should expect some pain after treatment. Occasionally two to four days after treatment you may have an increase in pain. This is NORMAL and no cause for alarm.
Do not chew food on the treated tooth until your root canal is completed and your tooth is restored with a permanent restoration. In most cases a temporary restoration will be placed. A permanent restoration, usually a crown, is required within 60 days to prevent leakage and reinfection of the tooth. Chewing on the treated side of the mouth, with only a temporary filling, may result in tooth fracture. Tooth fracture could compromise the ability to save your tooth. If the temporary restoration comes out of the tooth it is not an emergency, simply contact the office and the issue will be addressed. You should continue your regular dental hygiene regimen; be sure to brush the treated area unless otherwise directed.
Tylenol and Ibuprofen are very effective for relief of tooth-related pain. If you have pain that you cannot tolerate, swelling, or fever, please call our office immediately. If your medical history allows it, take 500 mg Tylenol + 400-600 mg Ibuprofen together every 6 hours, as needed. Do not exceed 4000 mg Tylenol or 3,200 mg Ibuprofen in a 24 hour period.
Please do not hesitate to contact the office should you have any questions or concerns (7-4:30 Mon-Thurs). Should you require emergency services after hours, contact Dr. Calkins or Dr. Hays.
During root canal treatment, local anesthesia is used to numb the inflamed or infected tooth and the surrounding tissues to ensure that you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. While most patients are able to tolerate treatment with local anesthesia alone, please let us know if you have dental anxiety so we can discuss options for sedation to help you feel calm and relaxed during your procedure.
Nitrous oxide – commonly referred to as “laughing” gas. This is very effective for patients with mild forms of dental anxiety. Nitrous oxide is administered through a nasal mask and the effects of this gas wear off as soon as the mask is removed. If your endodontist uses nitrous oxide, you will be able to function normally after the appointment, allowing you to drive home and continue your normal daily activities.
Oral Sedation – oral sedation works best for patients with mild to moderate dental anxiety. The patient is prescribed a medication, most commonly Halcion (triazolam), which must be brought to the dental appointment. Once monitors are in place, your endodontist will administer the medication approximately 1 hour prior to beginning the dental procedure. The oral medication has an anxiolytic-sedative effect, allowing the patient to relax during the treatment. Patients that receive oral sedation will need a driver that brings them to and from their appointment, and will be unable to drive or return to work for the remainder of the day. Not all patients are candidates for this level of sedation, so please call our office to schedule a consultation!
Generally, a root canal is all that is needed to save teeth with an injured pulp. Occassionally, a nonsurgical root canal procedure is not enough to save your tooth, and your endodontist may recommend endodontic microsurgery. This procedure can identify small fractures on the surface of the root, eradicate persistent infection, or locate hidden canals that were previously inaccessible during the initial treatment.
The most common endodontic surgery is an apicoectomy, or root-end resection. An incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the bone and surrounding inflamed tissue. The damaged tissue is removed along with the end of the involved root tip. A root-end filling is placed to prevent reinfection of the root and the gums are sutured. The bone naturally heals around the root over a period of months and the tooth is saved from extraction.
Cracked teeth can cause many types of symptoms, including erratic pain when chewing food, or sudden, intense pain when your tooth is exposed to very hot or cold temperatures. In many cases, the pain may come and go, but if you experience these symptoms or suspect a cracked tooth, it’s best to see an endodontist as soon as possible. Over time, the pulp will become damaged and root canal treatment is necessary. A cracked tooth that is not treated will worsen, resulting in the loss of the tooth.
Traumatic dental injuries often occur as a result of a fall or sports injury. The majority of these injuries are minor, but more severe injuries such as a displaced or “knocked out” teeth require immediate attention by a dental professional. If you have had trauma to your mouth or teeth, please seek emergency care. Based on the type of injury, your dentist may refer you to Dr. Hays or Dr. Calkins for endodontic evaluation within a few weeks of the injury. If the pulp is damaged or infected, root canal treatment will be required.