Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Morgantown Endodontics and My Root Canal

Sunday night I had some ice cream and fresh strawberries for dessert with some friends and it triggered some pretty intense pain for me. So much so, that I was calling everyone I knew to see what I could do to alleviate the pain. I had about an hour’s worth of excruciating pain which slowly began to subside after I took some Ibuprofen. I had an appointment scheduled for today at 8AM, but if there was any way to move my appointment forward, I wanted to do it.

I called the folks at Morgantown Endodontics Monday just as they were opening, and told them about my predicament. They were amazing! They worked me in for a root canal just a few hours later. They took before and after x-ray’s of my teeth, and so I asked Dr. McBride, my endodontist if I could those images emailed so I could share them on my blog. He had them emailed to me just a couple hours after our surgery was finished.

To me, the whole process was utterly amazing. Any time I mentioned to others that I had scheduled a root canal, they cringed and said good luck. I am thoroughly happy with my experience. Dr. McBride and his assistant explained every step of his work, and I made sure to ask plenty of questions before a rubber dam was placed around the tooth in question. I just wanted to understand the process thoroughly. Until my surgery, I really had no idea what a root canal was or what it’s effect would be.

Why did I need a root canal? Earlier this summer I had a tooth that got cracked while playing soccer with some friends. One day later, the broken piece of tooth came out of my mouth. When I went to a dentist, they were trying to salvage the tooth and clean it up before putting a filling in, but decay had gotten too close to the pulp. The preparation process had caused a bit of nerve trauma in the tooth, and had increased its sensitivity to hot and cold exponentially in the days that passed sense the dental work.

Above is a photo from before the surgery, and below is a photo from after. The really bright spot in the image is the temporary filling put in to my tooth. You can see two dark spots going down the center of my tooth. Those are the nerve fibers. They make our teeth sensitive to hot and cold, and when a tooth has decay near to the pulp, this nerve fiber becomes VERY sensitive to hot and cold, and is why we experience toothaches.

I imagine that in the past root canals were very painful. Essentially, the endodontist drills a hole through the tooth into the pulp and continues to clean out any nerve fibers that may be in the long thin canals that run down the middle of the roots of tooth. Before the advent of anesthetics, and without some of the amazing technologies available today, the drilling and cleaning process would probably generate a lot of heat and since the whole process deals with nerve endings, it was probably VERY painful. Even in my situation, one of the canals crossed through the jawbone, and so Dr. McBride needed to apply anesthetic directly through the pulp of the tooth. (I only felt a momentary pinch).

After he cleared the canals thoroughly, he inserted a biocompatible rubber filler to replace the nerve fibers. You can see in the second image that the canals of my tooth’s roots are filled as well as the pulp chamber. You will also notice a dark spot in the middle of the tooth. Dr. McBride explained that this was placed in the tooth under a temporary filling to mark that the work had been done so when I go visit the dentist in mid-October, they can see the work that has been done.

If you ever need a root canal, I highly recommend Dr. McBride and the staff at Morgantown Endodontics. They are thoughtful, professional, friendly and they keep you informed every step of the way.


Anonymous said...

When he was at the dental school as a resident, he did two of my root canals, and was awesome!Glad all went well fo ryou!

Timothy said...

Hi, just like you most of my friends are giving me that "good luck" look, after hearing that I'm gonna have a root canal procedure.That gives me a lot of fear before the operation. I'm just lucky to have a good dentist in St Petersburg who makes sure that I'm in full shape. He also answers all my questions concerning my teeth. I'm just grateful to have such dentist.

chanchanchepon said...

Hey Timothy,

Thanks for the post. Glad you have had positive experiences as well!

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Endodontics is a Root canal therapy and study of diseases of the dental pulp.
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Allie said...

Great post! Thank you for the information. I recently just had a root canal done myself and was not aware of the details for the procedure. Very informative.