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Signs You May Need a Root Canal

If you could get a root canal treatment instead of extracting a tooth, would you do it? Dr. Sean Bates, your Sarasota dentist, often uses this reliable restorative service to avoid pulling a sick or damaged tooth. Learn more about the procedure and the signs which indicate you may need one.

What is root canal therapy?

Dentists also call it endodontics or endodontic therapy. Used for generations, root canal therapy isolates and opens a damaged or ailing tooth and removes the interior pulp. This pulp, contained in a central chamber and in two to four canals in the tooth roots, becomes diseased through decay, injury or extensive restorative treatments, such as fillings.

To start a root canal, your dentist in Sarasota injects the area around the tooth to numb it. Next, he uses a drill to create an access hole in the first root canal. He removes the pulp and debrides the canal walls with small metal files. After instilling some antibiotics, he fills the canal with elastic gutta-percha to seal and strengthen the tooth.

Dr. Bates treats all the canals and then covers the tooth with a temporary filling or cap. This restoration stays in place until he places a permanent porcelain crown a week or two later.

Teeth restored in this way normally last for many years. They look, feel and function normally. Care is routine: floss and brush as usual, and see Dr. Bates every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up. He'll inspect your restored tooth for any signs of trouble; however, it's unlikely you'll experience any because root canal procedures are very successful. Up to 95 percent of them survive for years, say the American Association of Endodontists.

Signs you need one

Dental symptoms can be quirky. In other words, a tooth may be very sick and yet, exhibit few to no symptoms. However, most infected or damaged teeth do show danger signs which tell your dentist intervention is needed.

Signs you may need a root canal treatment include:

  • Toothache pain either in the area of the tooth itself or in another area of the mouth
  • Dental sensitivity which persists after biting or chewing or exposure to heat or cold
  • Drainage
  • Puffy, red, tender gums
  • Jaw swelling
  • Pimples or sores on the gums near the problem tooth
  • Dark enamel
  • Missing tooth structure (a cracked filling, chip, or fracture as examples)
  • Halitosis (really bad breath which does not go away even after brushing or rinsing)

Avoid big problems and feel better

Root canal therapy with Dr. Sean Bates and his team will resolve your toothache pain comfortably and ensure you of a healthy tooth for years to come. To learn more about endodontics, contact Dr. Bates' Sarasota, FL, office to arrange a consultation at (941) 966-4751.

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Sean R Bates, DDS & Associates


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8:00 am-5:00 pm


8:00 am-5:00 pm