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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

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Specials hours

Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday,Saturday,Sunday Closed

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


Tote That Barge Down the Root Canal

root canalOK, unlike the Erie Canal, no one writes folk songs about root canals. But maybe they should. After all, the Erie Canal isn’t going to save your infected tooth, but a root canal will!

But root canals need a new PR agency. Everyone dreads them as if they were a torture procedure leftover from the Dark Ages. And this dread can make them delay getting the work done that can save the tooth. But the reality is a root canal doesn’t hurt any more than having a cavity filled.

What is a root canal?

The name root canal is actually part of the tooth, not the procedure. Every tooth has one or more roots anchoring it into the jawbone. Nerves and blood vessels run through several tiny channels or “canals” in the root up into the pulp at the center of the tooth. This flow is necessary to keep the tooth healthy and alive.

Problems occur when bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth. This can happen when a tooth develops a cavity or is fractured. Now the tooth becomes infected and the infection can spread down the root canals, even entering the gum tissue. When the infection inflames the nerves and surrounding tissue things get really painful. This is the pain that people sometimes wrongly associate with the root canal procedure, but the goal of the procedure is to alleviate the pain and save the tooth.

A root canal procedure is designed to:

  • Minimize pain
  • Remove the infected or dead tissue
  • Remove all bacteria
  • Reduce swelling
  • Keep remaining healthy tooth structure intact
  • Restore the function and the appearance of the tooth

How do you know if a tooth is infected?

The first signs of an infected tooth are pain in the tooth. This pain may extend down into the gums and jawbone, and the area will become swollen. If you leave it, abscesses may develop and foul-smelling pus will come with them. Leaving these symptoms without treatment can lead to fever, nausea, vomiting, and other issues that can even become life threatening.

What we do during a root canal

After finding the location of the tooth root canals on an x-ray, Dr. Egger drills a small hole into the tooth to access the pulp. He inserts small round files into the hole to scrape out and remove dead pulp and bacterial debris from the root canals. Thanks to local anesthesia, this is painless. Dr. Egger than washes out the inside of the tooth, often treating it with a topical antibiotic to ensure all bacteria is gone. Then he fills the now-hollow tooth with gutta percha. The procedure is finished when Dr. Egger applies either a filling or a crown over the drilled hole.

Recovery is pretty easy. Any swelling usually passes in just a couple of days. And because the nerves are removed during the cleaning out of the decayed tooth interior, the potential for pain is now gone. Although the tooth is now basically dead, it can stay anchored into your jawbone for the rest of your life if properly cared for.

If you think your tooth may be infected, this is no time to leave it alone. After all, the holidays are time for eating and you won’t want to do that if your tooth is killing you. Call us at 989-773-3560 and let’s take a look at that tooth and maybe save it with a root canal.