Dentist Blog

Posts for tag: root canal

By Hidden Lakes Dental Care, PC
February 27, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.

After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.

More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.

Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.

Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.

Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.

A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.

Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.

If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?

By Hidden Lakes Dental Care, PC
October 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Many people consider a root canal treatment to be potentially an unpleasant experience. You might even feel a few butterflies fluttering in your stomach if we were to recommend one for you.

But there’s nothing actually to dread about this common and very effective treatment. The procedure doesn’t cause pain; in fact, it most likely relieves tooth pain. What’s more, it could save a tooth that would be otherwise lost.

The name comes from narrow passageways extending from the tip of the root to the innermost tooth pulp. The pulp contains nerves and other structures once vital to early tooth development. And although they’re not as important in a fully mature tooth, those nerves still function. In other words, they can still feel stimulation or pain.

That shouldn’t be a problem with a healthy tooth. But if tooth decay invades the inner pulp, those nerves now under attack will begin firing. You’ll know something’s wrong. As bad as it feels, though, the toothache isn’t your worst problem: if the decay isn’t stopped, it can spread through the root canals to the bone that could eventually lead to losing the tooth.

A root canal treatment removes the decayed pulp tissue and protects the tooth from re-infection. We first deaden the tooth and surrounding tissues with a local anesthesia and set up a rubber dam around the tooth to protect it from contamination from the surrounding environment. We then drill a small access hole through the enamel and dentin to reach the pulp chamber and root canals.

Using special instruments, we remove all the diseased tissue from the pulp and flush out the empty chamber and root canals with antibacterial solutions. After re-shaping the root canals, we fill them and the pulp chamber with gutta-percha, a rubber-like biocompatible material that conforms well to the root canal walls. We seal the gutta-percha with adhesive cement and then fill the access hole. Later, we’ll give the tooth further protection with a custom crown.

After the procedure, you may experience short-term minor discomfort usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen. The good news, though, is that the excruciating nerve pain from within the tooth will be gone—and your tooth will have a new lease on life.

If you would like more information on saving a problem tooth with root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”

By Hidden Lakes Dental Care, PC
May 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Tooth painCould that nagging tooth be trying to tell you that you need a root canal?

While not all dental issues are obvious, sometimes your mouth acts up and lets you know that something just isn’t right. Our Bolingbrook, IL, dentists Dr. Kathryn Bachinski and Dr. Christine Petrilla are here to tell you more about the classic warning signs that will warrant coming into our office right away.

When is a root canal performed?

When we talk about the root canal of a tooth we are really talking about the inside portion of the tooth that contains the dental pulp and the roots of the tooth. When bacteria penetrates through the hard outer layers of the tooth and invades the inside of the tooth, then our Bolingbrook, IL, general dentist has no choice but to perform a root canal treatment to go inside the tooth and remove the infected or inflamed dental pulp.

What causes an infected/inflamed dental pulp?

There are three main ways in which this internal soft-tissue structure can become infected:

Decay: If decay is caught soon enough (usually during a routine dental exam) then it won’t have fully penetrated the enamel and dentin layers. In this case, we will only need to remove the decay and then place a filling; however, severe decay that has fully penetrated the outer layers of the tooth will require root canal therapy.

Injury: While not all damage to a tooth will require root canal treatment, if you are dealing with extensive chips and cracks that are causing issues with the dental pulp then you will certainly need this endodontic procedure.

Infection: Everything from a faulty filling to severe decay can also leave you prone to bacteria getting inside the tooth. When this happens infection can set in, requiring a root canal in order to eliminate the infection.

What are the warning signs?

It’s important to be aware of changes in your oral health so that you know when you need to come in for treatment. You should schedule an emergency dental visit if you are experiencing:

  • Dental pain (particularly severe pain or pain when chewing or biting down on the tooth)
  • Sudden and lingering tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Tooth discoloration or darkening
  • Gum swelling or tenderness surrounding the tooth
  • A bump or growth on the gums near the tooth (called an abscess)

Here at Hidden Lakes Dental Care in Bolingbrook, IL, we value our patients and want to make sure they get the dental care they need no matter when they need it. We know that toothaches and other dental emergencies arise often out of thin air and it’s important that you have a trustworthy team like ours to help make it right again.