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Root Canals & Extractions

What is a root canal? What is an extraction?

Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Extraction services can be provided if the dentist determines certain teeth are beyond restorative care. Extraction services will only be performed after an X-ray has been taken and the dentist evaluates your clinical needs.  Tooth extractions can be done on a same-day basis in most cases. EMERGENCY EXTRACTION services may also be available the same day.

IMPORTANT:  Please remember that your health conditions, any medications you take, and the complexity of the extraction may affect this service. The dentist will gladly discuss circumstances that affect the availability of extractions on a same-day basis.

What is the procedure for a root canal?

During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Root Canal

Modern root canal treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain

Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.

What is the procedure for an extraction?

For a simple tooth extraction where the tooth is visible above the gum, the dentist uses a dental tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth. Once the tooth is loosened, the dentist uses another tool called forceps to remove the tooth. In cases where the tooth has not yet erupted through the gums or was broken at the gum line, the dentist will need to perform a more complex procedure called a surgical extraction. This involves making a small incision in the gums and surgically removing the tooth.

Who is a candidate for root canals / extractions?

Patients who have a seriously decaying tooth that can be saved with root canal therapy are good candidates for this procedure.

Patients who have crowded teeth, misaligned teeth or severely damaged teeth are good candidates for tooth extraction. Patients who have advanced gum disease that has caused the teeth to loosen are also good candidates for tooth extraction.

What should one expect after a root canal?

It is normal to feel some discomfort and sensitivity during the first few days following a root canal. Over-the-counter ibuprofen may be used to alleviate these symptoms. In most cases, you should be able to resume your normal activities the next day. If you have a temporary crown placed, take care when chewing until the permanent crown is cemented in place.

What is my recovery time for an extraction?

For simple extractions, recovery time is usually very quick. The dentist will have you bite down on gauze for several minutes to stop any bleeding caused by the extraction. By the time the local anesthesia wears off, you should not feel any discomfort.

Bleeding

Some bleeding may occur. Placing a piece of moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and biting down firmly for 45 minutes can control this.

Blood clots that form in the empty socket

This is an important part of the healing process and you must be careful not to dislodge the clot.

  • Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after the extraction.
  • Avoid use of a straw, smoking or hot liquids.

Swelling

If swelling occurs you can place ice on your face for 10 minutes and off for 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel necessary for up to 24 hours.

Pain and Medications

If you experience pain you may use non-prescription over-the-counter pain relief medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Eating

For most extractions just make sure you do your chewing away from the extraction site. Stay away from hot liquids and alcoholic beverages for 24 hours. A liquid diet may be recommended for 24 hours.

Brushing and Cleaning

After the extraction, avoid brushing the teeth near the extraction site for one day. After that, you can resume gentle cleaning. Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as they tend to irritate the site. Beginning 24 hours after the extraction you can rinse with salt water (1/2 teaspoon in a cup of water) after meals and before bed.

Dry Socket

Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket where the tooth has been extracted or the clot has been dislodged, and the healing is significantly delayed.

Following the post extraction instructions will reduce the chances of developing dry socket. Dry sockets manifest themselves as a dull throbbing pain which doesn’t appear until three or four days after the extraction. The pain can be moderate to severe and radiate from the extraction area. Dry socket may cause a bad taste or bad breath and the extraction site appears dry. Dr. Kenney will apply a medicated dressing to the dry socket to soothe the pain.