root canal therapy

Restore Infected Teeth

Root Canal Therapy in Sunbury

If you have a serious cavity or your tooth has been damaged by an oral injury, your tooth may become infected. If this happens, root canal therapy from Dr. Miller can restore your tooth and get you back to smiling again. Schedule your appointment today! When it comes to infected teeth, time is of the essence and every minute matters!

xray of painful tooth

Do I Need A Root Canal?

Signs & Symptoms Of An Infected Tooth

The most common sign of an infected tooth is a serious, prolonged toothache that lasts for more than 2-3 days. However, not all infected teeth cause a toothache. Other symptoms to look out for include discoloration in and around the tooth, increased sensitivity, pain or pressure when chewing, and swelling of the face and cheek near the affected tooth.

What to Expect

The Root Canal Therapy Process

Tooth infections occur when bacteria infect the vulnerable, soft “pulp” inside your tooth. This pulp supports your tooth and keeps it alive, so if this becomes infected it can have severely negative effects on your oral health.

Treatment begins by cleaning and numbing your mouth, then isolating your tooth with a dental dam to prevent the spread of bacteria and infected material. Then, Dr. Miller will remove decayed or damaged enamel, and also create a small hole in the tooth through which she will remove any  infected pulp. The inside of your tooth will be flushed with disinfectant to remove any remaining bacteria. 

Once the tooth has been sanitized, it’s filled with a rubbery substance called “gutta-percha.” Then, it’s restored with a temporary filling or crown. You usually will need to come back and have a permanent crown to be placed once your tooth heals.

root canal diagram

The Root Canal Healing Process

How Long Does It Take?

It usually takes only a few days to heal from your root canal. You may feel some pain, discomfort and bruising around the treatment area, but this will fade relatively quickly. If you still feel pain or discomfort after a week, contact us for a follow-up appointment right away.

Separating Fact From Fiction

Will my root canal hurt?

Popular culture has given root canals a bad reputation. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is not a painful procedure. Root canals are painless because we numb your mouth with a local anesthetic, making the treatment no more painful than a routine dental filling. There’s no need to be scared of a root canal, as this procedure will relieve rather than cause pain. 

Infected dental pulp causes swelling inside of the tooth which places pressure against the tooth, resulting in extreme pain. The only way to cure the infection and relieve this pain is to remove the infected dental pulp from the tooth with a pulpectomy. 

A pulpectomy is the first stage of a root canal performed during the first appointment. We scrape out the damaged pulp from your tooth, then disinfect and reshape the tooth’s canals. This procedure has upwards of 90% success in relieving moderate to severe pain. 

After the root canal procedure, you may experience some minor soreness and tooth sensitivity in the next few days once the numbing agent has worn off. Take anti-inflammatory pain medication, avoid chewing on hard foods for the first 24 hours, and be careful around this tooth when brushing and flossing. This mild tooth sensitivity and irritation will resolve within a few days.

Can I wait?

what happens if I don't get a root canal?

Abstaining from a root canal procedure when you have pulpitis (inflamed dental pulp) is not a good idea. The only other option is to have the tooth extracted. While this might sound like a cheaper, quicker, and easier fix, it’s not when you take a closer look. 

A root canal is 95% effective at restoring the health of your tooth and preventing extraction. As long as you care for your tooth afterward and practice good oral hygiene, you may never run into problems with this tooth again. Your teeth are important to your oral health, help you chew your food, and pronounce words.

If you don’t get a root canal, you’ll likely require a tooth extraction, but what happens if you remove a tooth? There is now a vacant space that needs to be filled. If you leave this space unfilled, you will suffer from irreversible bone loss which will cause premature facial sagging, changes in your facial structure and bite, and your surrounding teeth will shift. Now you have a whole host of problems that could have been avoided. 

Bone loss increases your risk of losing more teeth. While you can avoid these problems by replacing the tooth with a dental implant, this procedure is costly and requires months of your time. If your dentist is recommending root canal treatment and believes it can successfully save your tooth, this is the best option in the long term.

Prevention is key

how do I avoid a root canal in the future?

The best way to prevent future oral health problems is to care for your teeth by regularly brushing and flossing properly, reducing your consumption of carbohydrates and sugar which increase your risk of cavities, and getting regular dental cleanings and checkups at the dentist every 6 months. 

The proper way to brush your teeth is to brush for 2 minutes at a 45-degree angle with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day to thoroughly remove left behind food particles that can turn into plaque.

Get Out of Pain with Root Canal therapy