Category Archives: Dental Care

Do All Cavities Need Fillings?

If your dentist detects cavities, they will offer to fill them in, even if they’re small. A dental filling is crucial to protect your mouth from further decay. If left untreated, your tooth will grow worse as the cavity deepens. 

Learn more about cavities and how they can negatively impact your dental health.

Cavities Explained

A cavity is a hole in the tooth, often the final result of tooth decay. These holes grow when dental plaque (food particles, bacteria, and minerals) grows on the tooth’s surface due to inadequate hygiene. The bacteria transform the sugar in food particles to acid, eating away at the tooth’s enamel. Minor, surface cavities can eventually extend into the deeper layers of your tooth. 

Discover why you must get your cavities filled in as soon as possible.

Can I Detect Cavities On My Own?

Cavities appear as a pale or dark spot then gradually decay into a yellow or brown color. Inspect your mouth with a mirror once a month to detect any tooth discoloration early on. Unfortunately, if you’re growing cavities between two teeth or the back of a tooth, you may not be able to detect them. 

We recommend you visit your dentist every six months for regular checkups. They can spot cavities in their early stages before they deteriorate your oral health. Your dentist will perform an oral radiograph to detect them. 

Early tooth decay is innocuous, so without a regular checkup, you won’t be able to tell you have a cavity until it begins to chip away at your tooth. Once a cavity reaches your tooth’s root, your teeth will become sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. Furthermore, you will be at risk for developing a dental abscess; this will make it difficult to open your mouth.

The Varying Degrees of Cavity Treatment

The sooner you consult with your dentist, the higher the chance they can stop your tooth decay in its tracks before it becomes painful. If you receive treatment early, you might only need to undergo a simple fluoride treatment to restore your tooth’s enamel. 

However, if you’re experiencing sharp pain and sensitivity, you might need extensive treatment. Your dentist may recommend the following depending on the severity of your decay:

Mild cavities: Dentists and oral surgeons treat these cavities with fillings, also known as restorations. They will drill away the damaged tooth and fill in the defect with restorative materials that vary in strength and cost. 

Large cavities: You may require a crown. Your dentist or oral surgeon will drill into your natural crown and replace it with a covering.

Pulp cavities (severe damage): You may need to undergo a root canal. Your oral surgeon will remove the diseased pulp before inserting a filling. If the damage is too severe, you might need to undergo tooth extraction surgery. After this procedure, your oral surgeon will insert a dental implant into the gap. 

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Is Here for You

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day to prevent cavities. If your dentist believes you need oral surgery, you can contact the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, and more. 

We’re still operating during this COVID-19 outbreak, and we’re taking extra measures to ensure our patients stay safe. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Why Can’t I Exercise After Tooth Extraction?

You may need to undergo tooth extraction surgery for several reasons, including late-stage tooth decay, trauma, and aesthetics. After surgery, you might be tempted to resume your daily activities, but you can’t go back to exercising right away. 

Discover why you should refrain from exercising after tooth extraction surgery. 

The Dangers of Exercising After Surgery

Most oral surgeons advise patients to avoid physical exertion for the first 24 hours after surgery. Exercise can lead to an increase in blood pressure, which can cause the extraction site to bleed. Worst of all, the blood clot that grows in the extraction area after surgery may be dislodged, leading to dry socket. 

Stay tuned to find out when it’s appropriate to resume exercising.

When Can I Start Exercising Again?

It’s essential to relax and take it easy for the first few days after surgery. Avoid engaging in high-intensity exercises such as running, karate, swimming, and all other intense workouts. Generally, it would be best if you waited one week before heading back to the gym. 

If you’re taking painkillers or antibiotics, it’s best to wait until your dentist removes them from your prescription, as these come with side effects. Moreover, they can mask the pain from exercise-related injuries, so you may not know if you pull a muscle. 

Patients who went through a more complicated extraction that caused significant blood loss and tissue manipulation may need to wait at least a month before exercising. Conversely, those who went through a less severe procedure can ease back into their routine by doing light stretches and yoga after one week. Ultimately, you should ask your oral surgeon when it’s safe to start exercising again.

Signs You Should Stop Exercising

Once you’ve waited the proper amount of time, you can go back to exercising. However, you should stop if you experience the following:

  • The extraction site begins to bleed
  • Swelling has increased
  • You develop a fever
  • Your sutures have come apart
  • Difficulty talking or chewing
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy

You will need to visit your oral surgeon as soon as possible.

Exercising Too Soon Can Lead to Dry Socket

Dry socket is a painful oral condition that may occur after tooth extraction. It happens when the blood clot at the site of the extraction fails to develop, or it dissolves before your wound heals. If you begin to exercise sooner than your doctor advises, you run the risk of developing it.

Blood clots serve as a protective layer over the underlying nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Additionally, they provide the foundation for the growth of new bone and the development of soft tissue over the clot.

Exposed nerves result in intense pain in the socket and constant radiation on the side of your face. Dry socket can lead to inflammation, and over-the-counter medications aren’t enough to treat the pain. You will have to consult with your oral surgeon for treatment.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help

If you experience pain or develop dry socket after your procedure, you need to see an oral surgeon as soon as possible to prevent further complications. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help you find relief. Schedule your free consultation today. 

Do Wisdom Teeth Always Hurt When They Come In?

From babyhood to adulthood, teeth grow in different stages: first incisors, then canines, premolars, and molars. Just when you thought you were done growing, your wisdom teeth come in at the back of your mouth.

If your wisdom teeth recently came in, you may be panicking. Don’t worry; we’re here to help you with your wisdom teeth journey.

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

Most people develop four wisdom teeth, each emerging from both sides of the upper and lower jaw. They usually appear in people between the ages of 17-25, according to the American Dental Association. Many people are scared of wisdom teeth growth because they don’t want to experience pain; however, it varies from person-to-person. Some people don’t experience discomfort at all!

Discover the reasons why some individuals experience pain when their wisdom teeth grow.

Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Growth

If you discover new molars growing in the rear part of your mouth, this is an indication your wisdom teeth are coming in. Unfortunately, several common wisdom teeth eruption symptoms indicate a problem, including:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Experiencing an unpleasant taste
  • Difficulty opening your mouth (lockjaw)

These symptoms can arise from improperly cleaned wisdom teeth, and they may be the first signs of infection due to impaction.

What Is Wisdom Teeth Impaction?

Wisdom teeth can become impacted when they don’t have enough room to emerge naturally. This can lead to several problems, such as:

  • Damage to neighboring teeth: If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage it and result in infection. Additionally, this pressure can cause other problems such as overcrowding in the mouth, which may require orthodontic treatment.
  • Cysts: Because wisdom teeth develop in a sac within the jawbone, it can fill with fluid, leading to cyst formation. Oral cysts can result in jawbone, teeth, and nerve damage. Worst of all, a benign tumor may develop, and an oral surgeon will have to extract tissues and bones from your mouth.
  • Decay: Wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, so food and bacteria can get trapped between your gum and a partially erupted tooth. As a result, they’re at higher risk of tooth decay.
  • Gum disease: Tooth decay can lead to a painful, inflammatory gum condition called pericoronitis. If left untreated, it can result in bleeding gums, painful chewing, and tooth loss.

What Can I Do to Treat Wisdom Teeth Pain?

The best cure for impacted molars is wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Before the procedure, your oral surgeon will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you shouldn’t be afraid of experiencing discomfort. If you’re having all of your wisdom teeth taken out at once, your surgeon will opt for a general anesthetic, which will put you to sleep.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help

If your dentist has determined you must undergo wisdom teeth extraction, you won’t have to push your plans aside because recovery only takes a few days. Our board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can provide you with high-quality care so that you can get back to living your life. Schedule your free consultation today.

How Long Do Dental Implants Last?

Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth, and they can boost your self-esteem. In addition to their cosmetic value, dental implants make it easier for you to eat and speak because they’re firmly secured to your jawbone.

Find out if dental implants are permanent.

The Lifespan of a Dental Implant

Dental implants are a permanent tooth replacement option, and they may last approximately 25 years with adequate care. Nevertheless, they outlast other tooth replacement alternatives, such as dentures and dental bridges.

Discover how you can increase the lifespan of your dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants Made Of?

Understanding what dental implants are made of can help you better take care of them so that they can last for several decades. They consist of:

  • A titanium post that’s placed inside the gum and jawbone to replace the missing tooth root
  • A prosthetic crown, which replaces the affected tooth’s missing crown
  • An abutment, which is attached to the implant’s tip and holds the prosthetic crown in place

Dental implants are made of either titanium or zirconia, which are both regarded as two of the most durable and most hard-wearing materials on earth. Additionally, they’re corrosion-resistant and have antimicrobial properties, making them ideal for implantation.

Moreover, the prosthetic crown is made of porcelain, a special type of ceramic that’s more durable than a natural tooth.

Can I Increase the Lifespan of My Dental Implants?

One of the advantages to dental implants is you can make them last for decades; some people have made theirs last a lifetime. Here are a few tips you can follow to prolong their lifespan:

  • Brush and floss your teeth each day, and visit your dentist every six months, so your implants last over 25 years.
  • Avoid biting down on hard items, such as pencils and pen tips, and refrain from opening bottles with your teeth.
  • Schedule routine check-ups with your dentist so they can check if you’ve gone through osseointegration, which is when your dental implants become a permanent part of your jaw.
  • Smoke or drink alcohol in moderation or cut off these habits completely.

Can My Dental Implants Experience Complications?

Although dental implant complications are rare, they can still occur. Even though they have a high success rate, you should consult with your oral surgeon if the following occurs:

  • Infection around your implant
  • Loose implant
  • Tissue or nerve damage causing tingling in your gums or neighboring teeth
  • Sinus problems due to your implants touching your sinus cavities; this usually occurs if yours are placed in your upper jaw Peri-implantitis, which is when your implant’s surrounding gum and bone become inflamed due to a bacterial infection.

It’s essential to follow routine maintenance at home and follow-up with your oral surgeon to avoid these issues.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help

If you experience problems with your dental implants, consult with an oral surgeon who can examine your surrounding tissues for calcified deposits that may be impacting them. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help you find relief. Schedule your consultation today.

Grind Your Teeth? Learn Why This Habit Can Result in TMJ Disorder

If you habitually grind your teeth, you may have bruxism, which is a condition where a person is unable to stop grinding or clenching their teeth. Occasional teeth grinding isn’t harmful, but if it persists, it can lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome, also known as TMJ disorder.
Learn more about the risks associated with teeth grinding.

Teeth Grinding Is More Harmful Than You Think

Usually, people who grind their teeth do it out of force of habit, and they may not be aware of it. It can wear down your enamel, which is the white, outermost layer of your teeth. Worst of all, it can result in TMJ disorder, which is a sharp pain in the jaw joint. In severe cases, it can result in hearing and vision loss.

Continue reading to learn how you can stop grinding your teeth to prevent TMJ disorder.

How Do I Know If I’m Grinding My Teeth?

Most people with bruxism usually grind their teeth when they’re asleep. If you have this condition, your significant other or a friend may be the first to notice. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should visit your dentist:

  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Sore facial muscles
  • Fractured teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

Causes of teeth grinding include:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Sleep apnea
  • Crooked teeth
  • Misaligned bite

Manage Your Bruxism to Prevent TMJ Disorder

If you suffer from bruxism, it’s important to treat it to prevent TMJ disorder from developing. Your dentist may prescribe one of the following treatment options:

  • Sleeping with a night guard: If you grind your teeth when you’re asleep, your dentist can create a customized mouth guard for you to wear at night. This will protect your teeth and prevent further grinding.
  • Reduce stress: If your bruxism is stress-related, handling your emotions may improve your condition. Try incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing and meditation.
  • Practicing jaw relaxation: Your dentist can teach you ways to relax your jaw consciously throughout the day.

I’ve Been Diagnosed with TMJ Disorder. What Should I Do?

Even if you try your best to stop grinding your teeth, you may still end up with TMJ disorder due to a combination of genetics and late-stage bruxism. If your dentist diagnoses you with it, you will have to undergo surgery. Do the following to achieve temporary relief:

  • Take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Your doctor may prescribe you a low dose of tricyclic antidepressants, which can help with pain relief.
  • Take muscle relaxants to control muscle spasms.

Your dentist will recommend the following surgical procedures:

  • Arthrocentesis: A minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of small needles into your jaw joint.
  • Modified condylotomy: This procedure is performed on the mandible and addresses TMJ disorder indirectly.
  • Open-joint surgery: This surgery requires replacement of the jaw joint and is reserved for severe cases.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If your bruxism has resulted in TMJ disorder, jaw surgery can help you reclaim your life. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, our team of board-certified oral surgeons can show you how your bite will improve after jaw surgery, and we can show you a preview of how your appearance may change. Schedule your consultation today.

How Tooth Decay Can Cause Other Health Problems

Poor oral hygiene can wreak chaos inside your mouth because it can result in tooth decay. Did you know it can also impact your overall health? Adequate oral care not only gives you a bright smile, but it also improves the rest of your body’s health.

Find out more about tooth decay.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is damage to a tooth’s surface, also known as the enamel. It occurs when the bacteria in your mouth produce acids that attack your enamel. Untreated tooth decay can result in mouth pain and infection, and its effects can spread to the rest of your body; this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and other conditions.

Discover more about the correlation between tooth decay and your overall health.

Heart Attacks and Strokes

If you fail to brush and floss your teeth daily, it may lead to plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. Believe it or not, too much of it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Most people are under the false impression that only cholesterol can lead to blocked arteries. Still, research by the American Heart Association proves the bacteria in plaque contributes to artery blockage. It can get into your bloodstream and may clog your heart’s arteries, which can result in a heart attack or stroke.


If you have diabetes, tooth decay can aggravate it. If left untreated, it can lead to gum inflammation, also known as periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious health condition in which the gums become inflamed to the point where they start pulling away from teeth and
form gaps.

Unfortunately, these gaps usually become infected. If you have diabetes, an infection can make it difficult for your body to absorb insulin medication. Without insulin, your blood sugar levels may remain perpetually low. High blood sugar can exacerbate oral infections, which results in more inflammation; it’s a vicious cycle you may not be able to break from.

For these reasons, it’s detrimental for people with diabetes to maintain good oral health.

Can Tooth Decay Affect My Pregnancy?

Expecting mothers know they need to take prenatal vitamins, avoid certain foods and drinks, and frequently visit their doctor for check-ups. If you’re pregnant, you’re likely not thinking about your oral health because there are several other items you need to take care of. However, you should prioritize your oral health for the sake of your baby’s wellbeing.

An increase in pregnancy hormones can negatively impact your oral health, particularly if you already have existing problems such as tooth decay. If your tooth decay results in periodontitis, it can put your baby at risk of being born prematurely or underweight. Maintaining excellent oral health can protect you and your baby, so in addition to seeing your gynecologist, you should visit your dentist.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Brushing and flossing your teeth is the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, if your dentist determines you have tooth decay and it’s lead to other oral problems, you may need surgery. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in dental implants, tooth extraction, impacted canines, and other procedures. Schedule your consultation today.

Are Dental Implants as Strong as Real Teeth?

Dental implants are designed to last for decades or even a lifetime if they’re correctly cared for. They’re the best tooth replacement, and they blend in with the rest of your teeth.

Find out if dental implants are as durable as real teeth.

Dental Implants Are Resilient

Oral surgeons have used dental implants to replace missing or severely damaged teeth for over three decades. They’re made with a titanium rod, making them the most durable tooth replacement option available. Your surgeon will fuse the implant with your jawbone to form a secure connection that’s as durable as a natural tooth.

Read on to learn more about how dental implants can restore your smile.

What Makes Dental Implants Superior?

If you need a tooth replacement, you may be torn between traditional dentures or dental implants.
Dentures were innovative decades ago because they can replace an arch or a mouth full of missing teeth. However, they’re removable, and you must take them out of your mouth every night to avoid bacterial infection. Additionally, you need to secure them each morning with dental paste, which can be time-consuming.

Worst of all, dentures can slip around in your mouth each time you eat, and you may need to avoid crunchy and chewy foods. Dental implants are modern dentures, except they’re permanent and more comfortable once you grow accustomed to them.

A Strong Jaw Leads to a Strong Dental Implant

Some people are afraid of going for dental implants because they think their jawbone will reject them, but this is a myth. After a few years of having them, your jawbone will heal around the titanium implant through a process called osseointegration.
Osseointegration usually lasts between three to six months. Your jawbone’s ability to heal directly influences the stability of the implant. The primary way to keep your jawbone and gums strong is by undergoing a bone graft.

How Bone Grafting Helps Your Dental Implants

If your oral surgeon determines your jawbone is too weak, you may need bone grafting before dental implant surgery. When you chew, your mouth exerts enormous pressure on your jawbone, which may deteriorate it. Fortunately, a bone graft can create a stable base for your implant.

Typically, most patients require a minor bone graft, which can be done the same day as your dental implant surgery. In severe cases, your oral surgeon will take a small sample of bone from another area of your body. They will transplant the new bone to the weakened area of your jawbone.

Bone grafting triggers regeneration, which bonds the grafted tissue with your jawbone’s tissue. This allows your dental implant to integrate properly with your jawbone, which eliminates the risk of it falling out.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you’re interested in dental implants, you should consult with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Our team of oral surgeons will review your dental and medical history to see if you qualify for this procedure. Schedule your consultation today.

Basic Dental Care For Lifelong Healthy Teeth

Maintaining your teeth healthy requires a lifetime of care, and even if you’re confident about your smile, it’s essential to stay on top of your cleaning routine. Read on to learn about the importance of practicing dental care.

Why Does Oral Health Matter?

Some people underestimate the importance of oral health because they don’t value it as much as their physical health; however, there’s a correlation between the two. Your mouth is the gateway to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and if you don’t brush your teeth, bacteria will grow, and it may cause complications. Practicing dental care not only makes your smile attractive, but it also prevents diseases.

Here are three tips you can follow to keep your teeth and overall health in top shape.

1. Brush Your Teeth Twice a Day

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent permanent staining and plaque build-up. Ideally, we should brush our teeth after every meal. However, this expectation can be unrealistic because there isn’t always a bathroom nearby. Brushing your teeth every morning and night is enough to combat germs.

2. Use Appropriate Brushing Techniques

It’s not just about brushing your teeth; it’s about how you clean them. Brushing them improperly is as bad as not brushing them at all.
To brush your teeth properly, you will need to brush them in a circular motion. Reach for the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces. Make sure you brush them for a full two minutes. Don’t forget to brush your tongue at the end to prevent bad breath.

Always brush your teeth gently and slowly, so you don’t make your gums bleed. Replace your toothbrush every four months.

3. Prioritize Flossing

Many people who do an excellent job at brushing their teeth forget one last important step: flossing. Flossing isn’t just about removing pieces of food stuck in between your teeth; it’s meant to stimulate your gums, reduce plaque, and prevent gum inflammation. Best of all, you only need to do it once a day.

Flossing can be difficult for some people, such as children and older adults with arthritis. If one of the following conditions applies to you, consider specialized flossing options.

You have braces: Try a floss with a stiff end that you can thread beneath the wire of your braces.
You struggle to manipulate floss: Try an electric flosser that provides the perfect amount of pressure to make your gums stimulated.

You have a child: Teach your kids how to floss when they’re toddlers, so it becomes habitual. Remember, they’re likely to complain about pain, so be gentle with them and reward them with a small gift for forming a healthy habit.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Practicing simple dental care can keep a host of problems at bay, but as you grow older, the likelihood of problems increases. If you’ve been referred to an oral surgeon by your dentist, the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can provide you with care. We specialize in jaw surgery, wisdom teeth removal, TMJ treatment, and more. Schedule your consultation today.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need Removal

If your wisdom teeth are coming in, you may be considering extraction. Wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure to extract the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Right for Me?

Wisdom teeth are supposed to help us chew meats and vegetables, but they’re not always functional. They grow between ages 17-21, which are known as the wisdom years. Some people don’t get their wisdom teeth removed because they don’t experience pain, but dentists recommend removal to prevent future problems.

Learn more about wisdom teeth removal.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Tooth impaction refers to teeth that only partially grow, which is common with wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth never emerge from the gum tissue, so they stay impacted beneath your gums. Moreover, they typically grow at the wrong angle, so they either grow sideways and clash with your neighboring teeth or grow inside your jaw.

Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Pain and swelling
  • Destruction of other teeth and gum tissue
  • Bad breath
  • Stiffness in the jaw
  • Inability to chew food

Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth may not present any symptoms. However, if your X-rays show significant impaction, then your dentist may recommend you to an oral surgeon for extraction.

Overcrowded Mouth

Most people have 28 teeth, but once their wisdom teeth grow, they have a full set of 32 teeth, which can lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding may result in pain and discomfort, and there’s no procedure to help make your teeth fit together.

Additionally, you won’t be able to get braces because the extra teeth can’t be straightened. Your only option is wisdom teeth extraction.

Inflamed Gums

Wisdom teeth growth can lead to a loose flap of gum tissue that resides next to your teeth. It can trap food particles and bacteria, which can make your gum tissue become hard and inflamed. Inflammation can make brushing your teeth painful, and you may develop tooth decay.

In severe cases of inflammation, you may develop pericoronitis, which can lead to swelling in the jaw, cheeks, and neck.

Symptoms include:

  • Infection
  • Swelling in the gum tissue (accumulation of fluids)
  • A bad taste in your mouth caused by pus leaking from your gums
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in your neck

If you believe you have pericoronitis, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater for temporary relief.


The position of your wisdom teeth may have an impact on how well you can clean your teeth’s surfaces, which can promote bacteria growth. Excessive plaque build-up can lead to cavities. Untreated cavities may become larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth, which can result in tooth loss.

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if wisdom teeth extraction is necessary. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in wisdom teeth extraction, and we’re here to answer your questions. Schedule your consultation today.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Root Canal?

Root canal treatment eliminates bacteria from an infected tooth to prevent reinfection and save your neighboring teeth. During this procedure, an endodontist or oral surgeon removes the infected pulp inside of the tooth, then fills and seals it. If you must undergo root canal procedure, there’s no need to worry, as it will alleviate you from the pain of infection. 

Read further to learn more about the benefits of root canal treatment. 

Understanding Root Canal

Every tooth has a pulp chamber and a root canal system that houses blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp chamber is a hollow space located within the visible crown portion of a tooth, and it connects with the narrow canal spaces found at the root. 

Single-rooted teeth, such as incisors, usually consist of one canal. In contrast, multi-rooted teeth, such as molars, have at least one canal in each root. An endodontist must treat every canal space of the infected tooth. Depending on the complexity of the infection, an oral surgeon may have to perform the root canal procedure. 

Causes of pulp damage include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Repeated dental procedures on the infected tooth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Large fillings
  • Facial trauma

You may need treatment if you notice any of the following: 

  • Toothache
  • Inability to chew foods
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • A cracked tooth
  • Pimples on the gums
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold beverages

What to Expect During Treatment

Anticipate the following during the procedure:

Step One: Your endodontist or oral surgeon will examine and take X-rays of your infected tooth. Next, they will give you a local anesthetic to numb it and place a protective covering in your mouth to isolate the damaged tooth. 

Step Two: They will make an opening at the top of your tooth using small instruments to remove pulp. 

Step Three: They will clean and shape your tooth to make room for the filling. Depending on the severity of the case, they may also insert a post to support the tooth. 

Step Four: Your surgeon will fill the root canal with a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. Next, they will place an adhesive at the top of the tooth to seal it. On your final visit, they may insert a permanent crown. 

Root Canal Recovery Time

Fortunately, you only need a few days to recover from the procedure, and it shouldn’t interfere with your ability to go to school or work. Some patients recover by the next day. Expect to feel mild discomfort once the anesthesia wears off, which you can treat with over-the-counter medication. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

Although you should heal without any issues, some patients experience pain for more than a week. If your pain worsens, you will need to consult with your surgeon once more. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are here to help you with all your oral health needs. Schedule your consultation today.