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Root Canal Treatment


Should I expect complications when my abscessed tooth is pulled?

By Oral Health, Root Canal Treatment

I had a horrible toothache for about 5 months and finally went to the dentist. Well I went to an emergency dentist because I don’t have a regular dentist. She said that I had an abscess but she couldn’t get me numb to get the tooth out. I have antibiotics and another appointment late next week. I am worried that she won’t be able to get the tooth out even if she can get me numb. Should I expect complications my abscessed tooth is pulled? Janele

Janele – An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by an infection. A tooth abscess occurs in or around a tooth root.  It may or may not be painful.

If a tooth is injured, has a cavity, or experiences trauma, an infection can occur. When the pulp, or soft tissue inside the tooth, becomes infected and inflamed, the infection can spread to the tooth root, and an abscess will form.

Properly Treating an Abscessed Tooth

Instead of extracting an infected tooth, an abscess is commonly treated with a root canal treatment. The infection is removed from the tooth, the space is filled with a special dental filler material, and the tooth is sealed. A dental crown may be required to protect the tooth.

On rare occasions, root canal treatment isn’t enough to save your tooth, and endodontic surgery is required. A specialist can locate hidden canals in your tooth that may still harbor the infection. He or she will determine which methods are best to preserve your tooth.

And that’s the goal—tooth preservation. Based on the information you provided us, we don’t understand why there are plans to extract your tooth. We recommend that you receive a second opinion from an experienced dentist who will examine, and likely x-ray your tooth, to determine the best treatment.

Extracting a tooth leads to other issues, including bone shrinkage in the area of the missing tooth, adjacent teeth start to drift into the position of the missing one, and your bite may be affected and eventually cause jaw and facial pain. When a tooth is extracted, for optimum oral health, it will need to be replaced. No form of tooth replacement is as good as a natural tooth.

You would benefit if you take the time to receive a second opinion to find out if your tooth can be preserved.

This post is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists.

Steroids and Antibiotics After Root Canal

By Root Canal Treatment

I got a canal at the beginning of July and my tooth still hurts. The pain is pretty bad. My dentist prescribed steroids and antibiotics but I can’t tell that they did anything at all. Actually, my tooth has been hurting since July but not it is getting worse. If I mistakenly bite down on anything with the tooth the pain is off the charts. The gum around the tooth hurts and the pain feels like it is deep in the tooth. I am not sure what should be done about this but I am not taking any more steroids for a tooth especially since it didn’t help at all. What should I ask my dentist to do about this tooth? Thanks. Vickie


Your concern about not taking any more steroids is valid. Although steroids can help treat root canal pain, they also prevent your body from properly fighting the infection. We’ll explain why some dentists prescribe steroids after root canal treatment.

During root canal treatment, instruments are used to clean the tooth. The tooth gets irritated, the tissue in it inflames, and there is pain after the treatment. The swollen tissue also raises the height of the tooth, which affects your occlusion, or the way your teeth fit together. The pressure on the tooth from the imbalanced bite causes more pain and inflammation. Steroids are effective in treating the inflammation.

As we mentioned, not only is inflammation blocked with steroids, so is your body’s ability to fight the infection. So antibiotics are prescribed for the infection. The symptoms you describe probably indicate here is still an infection in your tooth and another root canal treatment is needed. If a specialist didn’t perform the first root canal treatment, ask to be referred to a specialist. He or she might be able to get to the very tip of the roots and remove the infection. If the case is complex, the tooth might need to be extracted.

Instead of prescribing steroids and antibiotics, some dentists choose to give patients high-strength ibuprofen before the appointment. Time is allowed for the body to absorb the anti-inflammatory drug, which in turn limits inflammation after the root canal treatment. Additionally, the tooth that requires the root canal treatment is reduced a little to prevent it from rising and causing occlusal issues after the treatment. The tooth would eventually need to be reduced in size to accommodate a dental crown. Post-operative pain is minimal.

Contact your dentist for another evaluation of your tooth, or schedule an appointment for a second opinion with a prosthodontist.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist and board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

I’m losing my 5th tooth from root canal failure and chemical sensitivities

By Root Canal Treatment

I am really frustrated about my teeth. 2 years ago I had an apicoectomy on a molar tooth. The tooth is giving me problems again and an endodontist did the work. 3 weeks ago I had 2 teeth pulled and I am told that I have to have 2 or 3 more pulled on the other side. I can’t tell you how traumatic this is for me. The end result is that at 38 years old, I will have none of my molar teeth. I have to wait until summer to get implants to give time for my gums and bone to heal properly. I have a new dentist who told me that my body has rejected 2 previous root canals. She said there is no point in getting another root canal because my immune system is rejecting the filler. I do have a lot of allergies and chemical sensitivities. What really scares me is that I am not sure yet what is going on with my teeth and why they keep decaying. I floss morning, night, and after eating anything that I think might potentially get lodged between my teeth I floss again. I keep floss in my purse. I brush morning, night, and after every meal. I know this sounds strange, but I have these flossing and brushing habits because of the root canal problems and problems with my teeth. It’s making me nervous to think that the only way to resolve a bad tooth for me is to have it pulled. Is that really my only option? Cassandra

Cassanda – We sympathize with you and know that this difficult situation must be very frustrating for you.

We cannot say whether or not your only recourse in the future is to have teeth extracted and replaced with dental implants. An examination and review of your medical history is required. We do recommend that you find a dentist who works with patients who have allergies and chemical sensitivities and tries to find alternative treatment for them.

Some dentists use the Clifford Materials Reactivity Test (CMRT), although its reliability is controversial. CMRT is a laboratory screen process used to identify your sensitivities. Bases on the results, the dentist will seek dental materials that are biocompatible for your case. Often the test is not performed in the dentist’s office, and the patient is given information to order it. The results are used for your dental treatment.

If you already know your sensitivities, you can call a few prosthodontists’ offices to ask if they work with patients who have chemical sensitivities. You may also ask each prosthodontist if he or she is willing to work along with your medical doctor to help identify the cause of the ongoing problems with your teeth. You can also choose to search online for a holistic dentist. Be sure to check his or her credentials, along with patient reviews.

We sincerely wish you well in finding answers and the right help.

This post is sponsored by Naperville Dental Specialists.


Can you get nanodiamonds with that root canal treatment?

By General Dentistry, Root Canal Treatment

What do diamonds have to do with root canal treatments? More precisely, what do nanodiamonds—byproducts of diamond mining and refining—have to do with this dental procedure?

Yearly, about 15 million root canal treatments are performed in the U.S. alone. During the procedure, infected tooth pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out and filled. At times, bacteria remain in tips of the root. Bacteria can linger, and a tooth can get infected again. This requires a second root canal treatment.

Gutta percha is the material used to fill a tooth after the infection has been cleaned out. But it’s limited in fighting infection and any remaining bacteria. Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry have found that adding nanodiamonds to gutta percha reinforces the filler material. Antibiotic-enhanced nanodiamonds strengthen the filler material and prevent bacterial growth.

What does nanodiamond-enhanced gutta percha mean for patients with root canal treatments?

  • Stronger filler material makes a weak, damaged tooth stronger.
  • Antibiotic-enhanced filler material fights bacteria and reduces the risks for needing future root canal treatments in the same tooth.
  • These combined advantages make it much more likely that a damaged tooth can be permanently saved.

Can you ask your dentist for this innovation in root canal treatment? Not yet. Researchers will spend the next two years refining the process. After that, clinical trials will begin at UCLA. Meanwhile, do what you can to avoid the need for a root canal treatment.

  • If you play sports, wear a mouth guard to protect your mouth and teeth from trauma, which can lead to a root canal treatment.
  • Remove bacteria from your teeth and gums by flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day.
  • Limit sugary snacks, food, and drinks, which promote tooth decay.
  • Go easy on your teeth. Only use them to smile and eat. Don’t bite hard or sharp objects, or use your teeth to take off bottle caps or open metal containers.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams. Early detection is a key to preventing dental issues that require aggressive treatment.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

Bad root canal

By Root Canal Treatment

I had a root canal. I don’t think it was done right cause I am in tons of pain.  It makes me sick in my stomach to the point I think I’m going to vomit. What do you think is happening? I don’t want this anymore and am thinking of just getting rid of the tooth.

Rebecca from Colorado


It is quite common for a root canal treatment to have a painful flare up, even if nothing was done wrong. Occasionally, infected material get’s pushed through the apex into the bone, which causes the ligament in that area to get inflamed and painful. Though the pain can be difficult to tolerate, it isn’t serious and your body should be able to fight the infection on its own.

Rather than pull your tooth after all the effort of saving it with a root canal, I would ask your dentist to reduce your bite. This will almost completely eliminate your pain. Generally, after a root canal treatment, a tooth is protected with a dental crown. If you have the bite reduced now, it won’t change anything that needs to be done to the tooth later.

You may also be interest in reading about Tooth Decay, Prevention, and Treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.

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