How Endodontics Helps to Reduce Unwanted Pain

Kevin M. Bloom, DDS, tooth pain

When most of us think of maintaining an attractive, healthy-looking smile, we think of the white exterior of the teeth. But the inside of the teeth is just as important. Inside the tooth interior is a portion called the pulp. The pulp contains the blood supply and nerves that keep the tooth healthy. Normally, the hard outer layers of our teeth help protect this more sensitive interior part. But sometimes, the pulp can become damaged. And when that happens, that damaged pulp needs to be treated, or we could stand to lose the entire tooth.

That’s when an endodontist comes in. “Endo” means interior or inside, and endodontists specialize in treating the interior portions of the teeth, including the pulp, the canals that contain the pulp, and the tooth roots. The most common procedure performed by an endodontist is a root canal, but they perform other procedures as well. Here’s how an endodontist helps relieve pain caused by damage to the interior of the tooth.

Removing damaged pulp

Damage to the tooth's interior pulp is typically caused by deep decay or infection, but sometimes the pulp can be damaged by a traumatic event like a blow to the mouth. When the pulp is damaged, the tooth is weakened, and it no longer receives the blood supply or nerve support it needs to function normally. Unless that damaged pulp is removed, infection can spread to the surrounding tissues, including your jaw bone. Root canal therapy is the treatment that’s used to remove damaged pulp so you can avoid having the tooth pulled.

During a root canal procedure, Dr. Bloom uses special instruments to access the deeper portion of the tooth. The damaged pulp portion is carefully removed, leaving the surrounding “shell” of the tooth intact. Then the cavity left once the pulp is removed is cleaned and sealed before being filled with a special rubbery material. Sealing the cavity helps ensure future infection won’t occur.

Once the tooth is filled, you’ll probably need to have a crown applied to help strengthen the tooth. Because a root canal can also cause your tooth to become discolored, covering it with a crown will help it look just as healthy as your surrounding teeth. Root canal procedures are performed in a single office visit, although you’ll need to come back to have your crown placed over the tooth.

Fixing tooth roots

Root canals may be the most common procedure performed by an endodontist, but it’s not the only one. Sometimes, only the tip of the tooth root is damaged or infected. In those cases, Dr. Bloom can perform an apicoectomy. During this procedure, Dr. Bloom accesses the root tip, removes it, treats the surrounding infected tissue, then seals the root to prevent further infection.

Apexification is another root-related procedure performed when a traumatic injury or other problem causes the root to stop growing in young patients. In apexification, the root is stimulated to continue its growth so the tooth can be saved.

Diagnosing the hard-to-treat pain

Lots of factors can cause tooth pain. Sometimes the cause of painful symptoms is obvious. But because your teeth, gums, and jaws contain an interconnected network of nerves, sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint the source of pain. Many patients continue to have discomfort even after a tooth has been filled. Sometimes that pain can be caused by tiny cracks or openings into the tooth’s central portion. Endodontists are trained to diagnose pain, even when it’s difficult to pinpoint. And of course, they’re trained in advanced methods of treating pain, including root canals and other procedures.

Will it hurt?

While a lot of people worry about the discomfort of root canals and other endodontic treatments, the past decade or so has seen a huge advance in pain management for dental patients. Dr. Bloom understands the very real problem of dental anxiety, and his practice implements state-of-the-art techniques to help patients stay relaxed and comfortable throughout their treatment.

During your endodontic procedure, your tooth area will be completely numbed, and you can have a sedative to help relax you if needed. Afterward, you can manage any residual discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs applied to your cheek.

Get relief for your tooth pain

If you're having severe tooth pain or swelling, don't let fear stand in your way of finding relief. At Kevin M. Bloom, DDS, we use advanced pain management and treatment techniques to help you get rid of pain and restore the health of your teeth. To learn more about the treatments we offer or to schedule an appointment, contact the practice today.

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