Comfortable Root Canals

When discussing dental treatments, patients often react to the term “root canal” with anxiety and fear. At Shiflett Family Dental, we understand that root canals have a bad reputation, and we are here to help you. Dr. Shiflett and the entire team are experienced in providing comfortable root canal therapy in Columbus, OH, and will talk you through each step as it occurs.

The reason people think of root canals so negatively has more to do with the infection involved and the failure of older numbing agents than anything else. In the past, numbing agents took a long time to take effect and wore off quickly. This issue is heightened with an infected tooth requiring a root canal, as the infection can create a barrier against the numbing agent. Modern anesthetics, though, work quickly and last throughout the procedure.

Dr. Shiflett is devoted to making sure you are comfortable and at ease from start to finish.

Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is one possible treatment when a tooth becomes infected. A tooth becomes infected when bacteria (often from a large cavity) reaches the center of the tooth where the nerve is located. The nerve within the tooth then dies, leading to the need for a root canal. Teeth can also become infected due to recent or past trauma, such as an impact from a fall.

The other option once the nerve has died and a tooth has become infected is to have the tooth removed (called an extraction). This can be a better option in some circumstances, but keeping your own tooth is often the way to go. There is no replacement we can offer that is better than your natural tooth, so it is best to hold onto it in most cases.

What Are the Signs of an Infected or Abscessed Tooth?

There are many signs and symptoms that indicate your tooth is infected or that you have an abscess. One common sign is a blister or bubble on your gum next to the tooth, often referred to as an abscess or fistula. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Hot or cold sensitivity in your tooth
  • Pain when biting
  • Swelling of your gums or face
  • Spontaneous tooth pain.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please call our Columbus, OH office at (614) 262-1807.  Dr. Shiflett and the team do their best to fit in emergencies and take care of them the same day, if at all possible.

Will Antibiotics Eliminate My Tooth Infection?

Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot eliminate the infection from an abscessed tooth.  When the nerve inside a tooth dies and becomes infected, the blood supply to the tooth is compromised.  When you take an antibiotic, it circulates in your bloodstream to access the area of infection. With the compromised blood supply, the antibiotic is unable to get into your tooth, which is the source of the infection.

An antibiotic can be a useful tool to help stop the infection from spreading further into your face and neck, but if the source of the infection is not removed by either root canal or extraction, the problem will return. Often this return is more severe and painful, so it is best to be proactive and resolve the issue as promptly as possible.

Why Do I Need a Crown After My Root Canal?

In most cases, a cap covering the compromised tooth (referred to as a crown) is required to strengthen the tooth after root canal therapy has been completed. When a root canal is performed, the center of the tooth containing the nerve is removed. This area is cleaned, shaped, and sealed to prevent bacteria from returning.  As you can imagine, a tooth with its center removed is more brittle and prone to breakage. To help mitigate this risk, a dental crown is placed on the tooth after the tooth is infection-free. 

Many times, Dr. Shiflett can begin your crown appointment at the same time as your root canal. This saves you an additional visit to our dental office in Columbus, OH, and helps you get back to your busy schedule. In a small number of cases, a root canal treated tooth will be strong enough without a crown. We will be certain to let you know if your tooth is one of these exceptions and save you a little time and money!