You’re not entirely sure when or why your toothache started, but what began as an occasional, minor twinge while chewing has developed into a persistent, throbbing pain. While you’ve tried to put it off, it’s clearly no longer an option—it’s time to call your dentist.
WHAT COULD BE CAUSING YOUR TOOTHACHE?
Tooth decay, or a cavity, is most often the cause of a toothache,* though it typically takes months, or even years, before the decay process has advanced to a point where it requires attention.** This severity of decay can usually be prevented with regular dental care and yearly cleanings by your dentist. But once you’ve reached the point of a toothache, you’re most likely going to need more in-depth dental work. According to WebMd, in addition to tooth decay, toothaches can also be indicative of:
- Repetitive chewing or grinding
- Tooth fracture
- A damaged filling
- Infection (of the gum and/or tooth)
Repetitive chewing or grinding can cause tooth fractures,*** which can be treated with root canal therapy. Cavities can be filled and damaged fillings can be repaired or replaced when diagnosed early—delaying treatment gives bacteria more time to multiply and cause more decay and infection. An abscessed tooth is an indication that you’ve waited far too long to see your dentist and now have a severe infection with more consequences to face.
THE LONGER YOU WAIT MIGHT BE TOO LATE
Putting off seeking treatment for an infected root canal system could ultimately cost you your natural tooth. When tooth decay reaches the inside of the tooth, the bacteria often causes an infection that begins killing the nerves and tissue inside the pulp.† At this stage, your dentist has two options to resolve your infection—tooth extraction or root canal infection treatment.
The bigger the cavity means the more tooth structure is lost,†† thereby reducing the area needed for crown placement and the chances of preserving the natural tooth. In cases of extensive decay and infection, extraction may be the only option. Luckily for you, your dentist feels your tooth can be saved with a root canal infection treatment. However, while some dentists perform root canal therapy, yours does not, and he has referred you to an endodontist—a root canal specialist—who can help you determine which root canal therapy is the right one for you.
NOT ALL ROOT CANAL THERAPY IS THE SAME: KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
If you have had root canal therapy in the past, you may not be aware that you now have treatment options. Developments in endodontic technology over the last few years have enabled clinicians to reach and clean the deepest, most complex portions of the root canal system1,2 that standard root canal treatment can miss.3
The GentleWave® Procedure is today’s alternative to standard root canal treatment, effectively removing bacteria and infected tissue2 from the root canal system with a less-invasive protocol.1 The GentleWave Procedure is so effective that it even decreases the chance of failure later on,4 while also preserving more of your tooth’s structure4 to help keep it strong. If you’re worried about feeling pain during your root canal or afterwards, listen to what GentleWave Procedure patients have to say about their experience.
PROOF POSITIVE: A ROOT CANAL BEFORE AND AFTER THE GENTLEWAVE® PROCEDURE
Aside from patient and practitioner testimonials, X-rays of a root canal before and after the GentleWave Procedure offer compelling evidence of just how effective it really is.
In this clinical case study, the pre-treatment X-ray shows what appears to be the extent of the root canal system. The dark lines inside the tooth are the canals that the clinician must manually prepare for treatment. Files are used to manually create a path for procedure fluids to access and clean throughout the root canal system. Standard root canal treatment typically requires more manual preparation with files than the GentleWave Procedure,2 making it a more invasive protocol.
The post-procedure image reveals a much more complex root canal system, illuminating additional canals that were not previously realized and, therefore, were not manually prepared for treatment with files. Still, the GentleWave Procedure was able to reach and effectively clean these microscopic spaces,1,2 removing bacteria, tissue and debris2 for a successful root canal treatment.
Images courtesy of Brian T. Wells, DMD
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER AFTER ROOT CANAL THERAPY?
Root canal recovery rates are as different as the anatomies of each root canal system, the severity of inflammation and infection, and the methods used to treat them. The more appointments required to complete the treatment, the longer it takes for the tooth to heal.
Standard root canal treatment is usually performed over two office visits††† while the GentleWave Procedure can typically be completed in just one.4 And because standard RCT can leave behind infected tissue,2 the chance of a failed root canal and the need for ongoing treatment increases. The GentleWave Procedure provides efficient and effective cleaning,1 so there's less chance of failure and the need for retreatment over time.4
FIND A GENTLEWAVE PROCEDURE PROVIDER
If you’re experiencing symptoms of an infected root canal system, don’t delay seeking treatment—find a GentleWave provider today.