Emergency Dentistry in Cottonwood, AZ

Many dental emergencies result in treatment for an infected tooth. Root canals are not always the best treatment choice, but when you have a tooth that can be saved by a root canal, we can help. People don’t want to lose their teeth and neither do we.

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you’d probably lose that tooth. Now, with “root canal therapy,” your tooth can be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can injure your jawbones and be harmful to your overall health.

Root canal therapy involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, your dentist may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

What is a root canal procedure?

Tooth decay can progress down into the pulp. When this happens, the pulp can become infected. Infection of the pulp can be very painful and can also deteriorate into an abscessed tooth when infection and swelling develops in the tissues around or beneath the tooth. When the pulp becomes infected or the tooth becomes abscessed, it is necessary to perform a root canal.

Why do I feel pain?

When the pulp becomes infected due to a deep cavity or fracture, bacteria can seep in. When there has been an injury due to trauma, the pulp can die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow, pressure, and cellular activity. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down or chewing, and eating or drinking hot and/or cold foods and beverages.

Why do I need root canal therapy?

The tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection will spread. The bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is extraction of the tooth, which can cause the surrounding teeth to shift, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it’s always best to keep your original teeth.

What are the risks and complications with root canal therapy?

More than 95 percent of root canal therapies are successful. However, sometimes a case needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went undetected, or the fracturing of the canal filling. More commonly, a root canal therapy will fail altogether, marked by the return of pain.

What happens after root canal therapy?

Once root canal therapy is completed, the endodontist will refer the patient back to our office for the permanent restoration on the tooth. A temporary filling was placed immediately following the root canal therapy and will need to be replaced with a permanent filling or crown and build up. A crown will be necessary on all posterior teeth to properly protect the root canal- treated tooth from fracturing. Front teeth can typically be restored with a filling, however a crown may be necessary in some cases. Your dentist will determine the best choice for your individual needs.

How long will the restored tooth last?

Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root(s) of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.

How does root canal therapy save my tooth?

  • An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
  • The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
  • Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of germs and prevent infection.
  • A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
  • The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and filled.
  • In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth.

Even one missing tooth can have negative effects on your oral health. Of course, there is the obvious downside of the appearance of your smile, but a missing tooth can even affect your health.

How to Avoid Tooth Extraction

Once you realize the possible negative results caused by tooth extraction, it becomes readily apparent that consistent oral hygiene is a necessity. Your first line of defense against an extraction is faithful brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Your next line of defense is commitment to your regular office exams and cleanings.

When Is Extraction Necessary?

It is important for you to take every step you can to avoid the necessity of a tooth extraction. There are still situations where extraction becomes a necessity. Tooth extraction may be unavoidable in the following situations:

  • Tooth decay that has reached advanced stages
  • Infection or abscesses in advanced stages
  • Gum disease that has reached advanced stages
  • Teeth that have been impacted into the gums
  • A seriously fractured tooth

What if an Extraction is Necessary?

Our dental team is committed to preserving your natural teeth whenever possible. When he reaches the conclusion that extraction is necessary, he will make use of x-rays to gather as much information as possible about the tooth and its possible extraction. In the worst cases, he may feel it is best to refer you to an oral surgeon for complicated extractions.

What Does an Extraction Involve?

By definition, extraction involves the removal of a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. This procedure certainly carries a risk of pain and discomfort. Thankfully, a skilled dentist with proper training is able to reduce your pain and anxiety to a large degree. Also factoring into the extraction is the level of tooth decay, the position of the tooth, the strength of the tooth, and the strength of the attached ligaments. Again, a skilled dentist will be able to minimize the pain and discomfort you may feel during the extraction.

After the Extraction

Once the extraction has been completed, your dentist and his staff will use ice packs on the areas of your face that have been most affected by the extraction. These ice-packs will be used at 15-minutes intervals and will provide much-appreciated relief. The dentist will also prescribe a pain killer for you to use as needed. In most situations, the discomfort should gradually subside within three days to two weeks. If severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or fever persists, you will want to contact your dentist’s office.