My Blog

Posts for tag: root canal

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
December 19, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Root CanalNeed a Root Canal? We Can Help

Do you need a root canal? A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a treatment used to fix a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. Millions of teeth are repaired and saved each year with root canal treatment. Cedarbrook Dental, which is located in Gig Harbor, WA, offers a complete range of dental services. Dr. Peter Elton and Dr. Douglas Clarke are some of the top dentists in Gig Harbor, WA. Here are five signs that you may need a root canal. 

1. You have a toothache.

A severe toothache is a sign you may need root canal treatment. The pain can range from mild to severe. A root canal will eliminate your pain and improve your well-being. Your dentist will use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth before the procedure. The procedure is usually no more painful than getting a dental filling.

2. Cold and hot bother you.

If you pass on cold or hot drinks because you know they'll make your tooth hurt, it may be time to call your dentist. Tooth pain when drinking cold or hot beverages is a sign you may need root canal treatment. Your tooth will no longer be sensitive to cold and hot temperatures after root canal treatment. 

3. Your gums are swollen.

Swelling around one tooth is a sign that you may need a root canal. Gum inflammation is associated with infection, although it does not always mean an infection is present. In some cases, a tooth infection causes swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head. 

4. You have a bump on your gum.

A bump on your gum is a sign that a root canal is needed. If you have a bump near the tooth, see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment. This bump is an accumulation of pus, which develops as a result of a tooth infection. Your dentist can treat this by performing a root canal. 

5. You have a discolored tooth.

If you have one tooth that is darker than the rest, you may need a root canal. When the roots of the tooth that requires a root canal have died, the tooth may turn dark brown, yellow, or black. Tooth discoloration is also related to severe tooth decay, trauma, and damaged dental fillings, so seeing a dentist for a checkup is recommended.

If you need a root canal, why wait? We can help you today! Call Cedarbrook Dental at 253-851-1190 today to schedule an appointment in Gig Harbor, WA.

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
November 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

OK, you admit it. You should be able to chew a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without pain. You think one of your teeth may be cracked root canalor lost one of its many fillings. Is it time for root canal therapy from your Gig Harbor, WA dentist, Dr. Peter Elton or Dr. Douglas Clarke at Cedarbrook Dental?

A common but important procedure

That's what root canal therapy is. Because it is so common (41,000 per day in the US alone, says the American Association of Endodontists), both patients and dentists may take it for granted. However, this reliable restoration works exceptionally well to save teeth compromised by infection, oral trauma, deep decay and fracture. Dr. Elton or Dr. Clarke actually remove the pulp from deep inside the tooth's canals, seal it and crown it, preserving it for years of service.

What tells the Gig Harbor, WA, dentist you need root canal therapy? X-rays, visual inspection and symptoms such as the following are diagnostic:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Drainage
  • Persistent bad breath not relieved with mouth rinse
  • A pimple on the gums
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Pain when chewing
  • Dental sensitivity to sugar, cold or heat

Also, some deeply damaged teeth are discolored or have a visible crack.

How it works

To begin root canal therapy, your dentist will numb the tooth and then access its interior chambers, or root canals, with a high speed drill. He'll carefully remove the pulp (which is highly vascular and innervated) with several small metal files. He'll also instill antibiotics and seal each root canal with gutta-percha, a biocompatible and inert putty. Finally, the dentist covers the tooth with a temporary crown.

After healing at home, you'll return to Cedarbrook Dental for removal of the temporary restoration and placement of a porcelain crown. Dr. Clarke and Dr. Elton are confident in root canal procedures and see their patients keep their treated teeth indefinitely, avoiding costly tooth replacement and deleterious effects gaps have on appearance, tooth alignment, jaw bone and gum tissue density and oral function.

Don't delay

Come on into Cedarbrook Dental, and get that tooth evaluated. If your Gig Harbor, WA, dentist advises root canal therapy, rest assured you'll get precise, comfortable and kindly care. Contact the office team for an appointment: (253) 851-1190.

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
October 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Which would you rather have — the flu or a root canal procedure? Nearly 80 percent of people recently surveyed by the American Association of Endodontists wisely chose the root canal. If this takes you by surprise, then let us bring you up to date on root canal treatment today. It’s nothing like the experience that once made it the butt of jokes and a benchmark against which other “undesirable” experiences were measured.

The term “root canal” actually has two meanings. It is part of the pulp-filled chamber at the center of every tooth containing nerves and blood vessels that keeps teeth vital (alive). It’s also the endodontic (endo  = inside; dont = tooth) procedure that treats inflammation and infection in this tissue. Common causes of pulp problems are traumatic damage (for example a crack, chip, or root fracture), deep decay, or gum disease.

The first sign of a problem is typically pain — ranging from acute and intense pangs when biting down, to lingering discomfort after consuming hot or cold foods, to a chronic dull ache and pressure, or tenderness and swelling in nearby gums. The primary pain may abate as the nerves in the pulp die, but the infection will continue, compromising the affected tooth, jeopardizing the health of the surrounding tissues, and often triggering secondary pain.

Pain-Relieving, Tooth-Saving Treatment
Endodontic treatment, by contrast, is no more uncomfortable than having a cavity filled. The tooth and surrounding area are numbed with a local anesthetic before the procedure begins. In order to access the diseased pulp, a small opening is made in the biting surface of the tooth. Tiny instruments are used to remove the pulp, clean and disinfect the root canal(s) and pulp chamber, and prepare the empty tooth interior to receive a biocompatible filling material to prevent bacteria from returning. A permanent crown may be placed over the tooth at that time, or a second visit may be needed. A crown (cap) is important to the tooth's long-term strength and functionality.

For a day or two following treatment you may experience temporary sensitivity, which often responds to an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. Occasionally, prescription medications, including antibiotics, may be needed.

All in all, doesn’t saving a tooth sound easier and more constructive than coming down with the flu?

If you would like more information about root canal treatment please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step-By-Step Guide To Root Canal Treatment.”

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
June 17, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  

If the words “root canal” frighten you, what you probably don't know is that “root canal treatment” doesn't cause pain, it alleviates it — by treating infection deep in the root of your tooth.

  • What is a root canal? The central chamber of a tooth contains the living vital tissues comprising the pulp including its nerves and blood vessels. The interior of the tooth's roots containing the pulp make up its root canals.
  • How do I know if a tooth has a root canal infection? Symptoms of root canal infection may include sharp, intense pain when you bite down, a dull ache or pressure, or tenderness and swelling in gums near an infected tooth. There may be lingering pain after eating cold or hot foods. However, sometimes an infected tooth may stop hurting and you no longer feel pain. This doesn't mean the infection has gone, only that the nerve may have died. Make an appointment if you suspect that you have any or some of these symptoms.
  • Why would a tooth need root canal treatment? If the tissues in the root canal/s become infected or inflamed because of deep decay or trauma to a tooth, root canal treatment is needed to treat the infection and save the tooth. If left untreated, root canal infection can spread into the bone immediately around the root.
  • What takes place in a root canal procedure? After a local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth and surrounding area, a small opening is made in the biting surface for a back tooth, or behind a front tooth. Dead and/or dying tissue is removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals are cleaned, disinfected, and sealed to prevent future infection.
  • What can I expect afterwards? Your tooth may feel tender or sensitive for a few days. You can take over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, aspirin or ibuprofen, for example, to relieve pain or discomfort. Contact us if you have pain that lasts more than a few days. A crown is usually needed to protect the tooth following root canal treatment. Further arrangements need to be made for this stage of the procedure. Don't chew on the affected tooth until symptoms subside and the tooth has been restored as necessary.
  • Who performs root canal treatment? While all general dentists have received training in endodontic treatment and can perform most endodontic procedures, in complicated situations you may be referred to an endodontist, a specialist in root canal diagnosis and treatment.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about root canal treatment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”