The Pathway to a Healthy Tooth
Hearing the words “root canal” is something most people would like to avoid while sitting in the dental chair. Prior to modern day dentistry, root canals were long procedures associated with pain. However, despite their bad reputation, a root canal will alleviate tooth aches, reduce chances of tooth abscess, fix traumatic injuries, and help in restoring teeth long term. In fact, a tooth is the only part of your body where a nerve can be removed while still maintaining the longevity of the tooth. Without the option of a root canal, a tooth would likely need to be extracted and require additional procedures for replacement.
At Highpoint Dental Care in Aurora, CO, our gentle and compassionate dentists understand the thought of a root canal can lead to anxiety and apprehension. With modern techniques and skilled clinicians, like Dr. Baltz and staff, this is one of the most predictable procedures in dentistry. Our office uses cone beam (CBCT) technology so we are able to see the inside and surrounding area of your tooth in 3D, which helps to make the procedure even more efficient, predictable, and comfortable. To create an even more relaxed experience, we offer complimentary nitrous oxide and other amenities designed to make the process as painless and comfortable as possible. Call us at 303-617-9100 today to schedule your appointment.
Teeth consist of a hard, outer enamel shell and an inside filled with blood vessels and nerves, called the dental pulp. The nerve of a tooth is fragile and can be irreversibly damaged by cavities, fracture, or trauma. A root canal procedure involves removing the damaged dental pulp from your tooth while preserving the outer enamel structure and root as much as possible. The hollowed out inner portion of the tooth is then filled with a long-lasting dental material and sealer.
Once the dental pulp is irreversibly damaged, it can quickly turn into a dental emergency and a root canal should be performed before as soon as we can diagnose this with an exam, radiograph, and clinical tests (i.e. cold stimulation, percussion, symptoms, bite stick). If left untreated, an infection can develop and lead to pain, swelling, bad odor in the mouth, pus filled “pimples” on the gum, redness around the tooth, tooth mobility, and in worst case scenarios, exterior facial swelling that has potential to black the airway or impinge on the eyes.
If you have a toothache, it could be a sign of infection. There are additional symptoms, such as a “cracked tooth syndrome” that can mimic an infection. If you suspect you may have a tooth infection, don't hesitate to come visit us for diagnosis and treatment. During this visit, our doctors will use diagnostic tools to identify infection and provide you with honest and complete information about the safe and comfortable root canal treatment options available at our Aurora office. We will show you intraoral pictures of your tooth, review your radiographs, and share the diagnosis with you to ensure you understand the need for your treatment.
People tend to think that a root canal is a painful procedure, but this is not true. Modern advances in dental technology as well as local anesthetics mean that having a root canal is no worse than simply having a cavity filled. We will numb the tooth and surrounding area before proceeding with the root canal, so you won’t feel any pain. However, if you still feel nervous, we would be happy to discuss sedation options, including complimentary nitrous oxide and oral sedation, that can help alleviate anxiety and fear.
After your root canal procedure, your tooth should feel much less painful than it did when you had an active infection. Root canals provide relief from pain, they don’t cause more pain! You may experience some discomfort or soreness around the affected tooth after your procedure, but we will prescribe medications to help with this if necessary.
Although typically completed in one visit, a root canal sometimes requires two visits. At your root canal appointment, we will remove the inside pulp through a small access hole on top of or behind the tooth. After completion, we will place a temporary filling or dental crown to seal the root canal. After we ensure your tooth is feeling normal, we will advise for a final restoration to be placed on your tooth within 30 days. Depending on the amount of missing tooth and location, a dental crown or dental filling will be advised to finalize the restorative portion that follow a root canal. What may be best in your situation will be detailed during your initial root canal visit, and we will ensure you have a follow up appointment.
You may wonder why a root canal would be needed when it may be easier and less expensive to simply extract the infected tooth. However, extracting a tooth can lead to a myriad of additional problems that may not be foreseen. Benefits of a root canal include:
As great as replacement options can be, nothing is as ideal as your original tooth. Preserving the tooth root is the most important benefit of a root canal. Your tooth root plays an essential role in maintaining the bone structure of your jaw and surrounding teeth. If a tooth and its roots are removed, the jawbone in that area will shrink from lost support of the root. This bone can be difficult, and sometimes impossible to get back.
In addition, when a tooth is missing, surrounding teeth have a tendency to shift and loosen. Having holes in your smile are not only esthetically unappealing, but they can also make it harder to chew and speak properly. This can lead to sore jaw joints known as temporomandibular disorder.
Dr. Baltz uses the Carestream CS8100 3D cone beam machine to diagnose hard to detect tooth issues such as asymptomatic infections, root fractures, and pathology. In addition, it helps with measuring bone density and locating vital structures such as nerves during your root canal treatment. Although we are able to do 98% of root canals in our office, the machine is able to identify the hardest 2% of root canals, which we refer to trusted endodontists in the area.
Using this machine allows for:
This advanced technology is a valuable tool in our goal of creating the best patient experience possible. When you visit Highpoint Dental Care, you know that you will receive modern, safe, and effective treatment from our experienced and compassionate dentist.
If you have extensive decay or an infection in your tooth, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Baltz and staff at Highpoint Dental Care by calling 303-617-9100 today. Before significant tooth infection and pain begin, it is much easier to fix a tooth. Our dentist has extensive experience performing root canals and relieving pain for our patients.
We serve patients in Aurora, Centennial, Parker, Green Valley Ranch, and other nearby areas of Colorado.
"I would never dream of going anywhere else ever again."