Best Option? Save Your Natural Tooth:
A ‘root canal’ is the term that refers to the natural cavity or space within the center of the tooth. It is made up of the pulp chamber which provides nutrients and nerves to each tooth and the ‘canals’ that connect to each other or to the surface of the root of the tooth.
A cavity in the tooth leaves an opening where bacteria can enter and multiply. Left without treatment, these bacteria cause infections and form pockets or abscesses filled with pus up at the roots of the tooth. This causes severe pain and swelling that could spread to other areas of the face or head. Serious infections bring about bone loss around the tip of the tooth’s roots.
A root canal is a procedure done to treat and save a tooth that is damaged, infected or badly decayed. The treatment involves (1) removal of the nerves and pulp and (2) cleaning and sealing the infected area inside the tooth.
Teeth can become damaged and infected due to severe decay, repeated dental procedures, cracks in the tooth or trauma to the face. Constant pain, swelling and tenderness of the gums, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold and discoloration of the tooth are signs that one may need a root canal. A visit to the dentist will best determine the ways to deal with each particular case.
F.A.Q'S ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
What is a root canal and why do I need root canal treatment?
Endodontic (root canal) treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterward, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Why go to an Endodontist (Root Canal Specialist)?
Endodontists are dental specialists with additional two or more years of specialized training beyond dental school. Many endodontists use state-of-the-art technology such as operating microscopes, digital imaging, ultrasonic instrumentation and fiber optics, to treat their patients quickly and comfortably.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Today, getting root canal treatment is often no more uncomfortable than having a filling. In fact, root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain but actually relieves it. Advances have made the treatment a virtually pain-free experience, many times accomplished in a single visit. Endodontists understand a great deal about pain management. With modern techniques and anesthetics, the vast majority of patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery.
Would extraction (pulling the tooth) be a better alternative?
Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option. Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.
Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with a damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant. Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root canal treated teeth last a lifetime. Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
How long does a root canal take?
The amount of time a procedure takes depends on the details of the procedure you’re having and the type of tooth involved. We estimate your time in the office to last approximately 1-2 hours. The treatment itself can often be completed in one visit. At times, a second appointment may be needed.
What happens after my root canal is done?
When your root canal treatment has been completed, a report of your treatment will be sent to your dentist. You will need to contact their office for a follow-up restoration within 30 days of completion at our office. Your dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth.
Is it expensive?
Saving your tooth through endodontic treatment is less expensive and less invasive than an extraction and replacement with a bridge or implant.