Tooth Ache Treatment

There is never a great time for a toothache. While our doctors believe in prevention and regular care, we understand the need for emergency care. Below are the two most common treatments for a toothache. We take pride in serving our patient’s needs and do our best to accommodate emergencies the same day.

Toothaches are typically a result of bacterial infection. These bacteria invade the nerve of a tooth and surrounding tissues. To alleviate pain and ensure lasting results, it is important to remove the source of the infection--bacteria. Most commonly this can be accomplished by removing the infected tooth structure. There are two basic processes to accomplish this goal. One path is to clean out the inside of the tooth, a process commonly called a root canal. The other process to remove the infected nerve is to remove the entire tooth, or pull the tooth. While both procedures have their advantages, it is important to discusswhich option best suits your needs with your dentist. Even though a patient is in pain in this emergency situation, it is wise to think of the long term consequences of any decision made in this emergency setting.

In some cases of dentistry, extractions are needed if efforts to save the tooth (or teeth) are unsuccessful. We work very hard to ensure our patients retain as many (if not all) of their natural teeth as possible. A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed. Before removing your tooth, we will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A stronger, general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your teeth need to be removed. General anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will make you sleep through the procedure. After an extraction, your condition will vary depending on the location, severity and duration of the problem. To help the extraction site heal as quickly and comfortably as possible, there are some things you should and should not do.

Teeth become impacted when they are prevented from growing into their normal position in the mouth by gum tissue, bone, or other teeth. Wisdom teeth sometimes are impacted and require extraction. Teeth might also require extraction if they cause pain or cause crowding of other teeth.

Your comfort is our top priority . If you have discomfort after the extraction lasting longer than two days, call us at 251 344 0230 because you may have a dry socket. A dressing can be placed in the extraction site to help protect the site and relieve discomfort.

Dry sockets are a result of delayed healing. There are certain medications your doctor may prescribe to reduce pain and aid in healing.

Root canal therapy, also called endodontic therapy, is a wonderful procedure when needed. It adds years of life to a damaged tooth. The central tenant of root canal therapy is removing diseased areas to allow the body to heal the infected area. During this treatment decreased pain and removal of bacteria are beneficial outcomes.

Root canal therapy is the most feared dental procedure of all. That’s not surprising; in our society, root canals have been characterized as being excruciating and unbearable. Despite this stigma, root canal therapy is actually a pain-free, quick and relatively comfortable procedure. In fact, it relieves your pain and can prevent more complicated oral issues down the road.

What is a Root Canal?

A “root canal” is a term used to describe the natural cavity in the center of a tooth. This area contains a soft area known as the pulp chamber that houses the nerve. If this area becomes irritated or infected due to cavities, trauma or decay, root canal therapy is necessary. If left untreated, the infection can cause an abscess, which can lead to swelling of the face and neck and bone loss around the roots of teeth.

Symptoms of a Root Canal Problem
  • Severe tooth pain and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Tooth becomes discolored
  • Swollen, tender gums
  • A recurring "pimple" that forms on the gums

Root Canal Therapy Procedure

In years past, root canal treatments would take multiple long visits. Thanks to advances in technology and technique, the procedure can sometimes be completed in a single visit and in less than an hour. In the treatment:
  • The area around the target tooth is numbed, isolated and sterilized from bacteria
  • The infected tissue is removed, and replaced by a rubber filling material
  • The tooth is then built back up and prepared for a final restoration

Possible side effects of root canal treatment As with all dental and medical treatments, root canal treatment has risks. The following list of possible side effects is intended to inform you about some of the potential problems. As other uncommon complications may occur, the list is not complete. If you have any concerns about possible risks or complications, please do not hesitate to ask for more information.
  1. Loss of tooth: While root canal treatment can save most teeth, it is not possible to guarantee that it will be successful in every case.
  2. Infection: Infection is likely to resolve completely but re-infection is possible, but low. If the tooth is re-infected, it can sometimes be treated again or removed.
  3. Discoloration: In some cases the tooth can become darker, which can be treated by bleaching, or an artificial crown or veneer.
  4. Pain or discomfort: Some people may continue to have pain or discomfort around the tooth during and following treatment. If pain is severe or lasts more than a few days, additional treatment may be needed.
  5. Weakness: An endodontically treated tooth may be not as strong and durable as a normal tooth. This especially true for the back teeth (molars) and this is why a crown is often recommended.
  6. Altered feeling: During and after treatment, the tooth may feel slightly different from the other teeth. This should disappear gradually. If feeling persists, further treatment may be needed.
  7. File fracture: Special metal files are used to clean the inside of the root canals. These instruments are very fine and occasionally may break during use. Special procedures may be needed to remove the broken portion of the file, or you may be referred to a Specialist. In some cases, it may not be possible to remove the fragment.

After Your Root Canal Treatment— A follow-up restoration must be placed to protect your tooth against fracture and decay.
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