Preparing for treatment

If you walk into the office with an excruciating toothache and a swollen face from accumulated infection, you might expect treatment to be done immediately. However, that’s not always the best idea. Because the nerve is irritated and sensitized by the infection, it will not respond as well to anesthetic. If the nerve cannot be numbed, the treatment cannot be painless. In this situation, Dr. Dietrich prescribes a course of oral antibiotics first. This controls the infection, and allows the nerve to return to a normal state, so it can be numbed completely.

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After taking antibiotics, all pain and swelling may be gone. However, this does not mean your tooth is okay. The infection has not been abolished, and the injured dental tissues have not been healed. Even if your tooth feels great, it is only temporary. When you quit taking antibiotics, the symptoms will return unless you have root canal treatment. Antibiotics are formulated for short-term use, and they can have serious side effects if taken continuously.

The procedure

Okay, this is where you think it gets bad, right? Think again! The process is very much like the procedure for treating a cavity, but it takes a little more time because we need to go deeper into the tooth. Dr. Dietrich will begin by numbing the tooth, and then creating a small opening in the upper part of the tooth. This gives him access to the, hollow areas (pulp chamber and root canals) inside of the tooth where the nerve and other soft tissues are located.

The diseased and damaged tissues are removed, and the canal is carefully cleaned. Medication is used to kill any lingering infection, before the canal is filled with a flexible material called gutta percha. It is sealed to ensure that infective organisms cannot reenter.

Finishing touches

There is one more step, after the root canal has been treated. That is restoration of the tooth. An access opening was created, and now it needs to be filled. This can be accomplished with a standard dental filling. However, teeth tend to become more brittle after root canal treatment. Dr. Dietrich may recommend placing a dental crown over the tooth to prevent potential injury.

Pleasant Dental is located in Dolton, IL, convenient to communities throughout the Chicagoland, including South Holland. Call us at (708) 576-1900 and schedule an appointment today.

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