A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for more invasive replacement procedures.
At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by traumatic injury, deep decay, cracks, chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of an infection can be identified as visible damage of the tooth, swelling of the face, sudden change in sensitivity to temperature or pain and swelling in the tooth and gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal) treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected, and sealed.
This therapy involves an effective dose of local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.
If you have a high anxiety level before your appointment and feel that you may be more comfortable with sedation be sure to discuss this with our team prior to your appointment so we will be able to custom tailor your experience.
After completion of your endodontic (root canal) therapy you may be instructed to return to your dentist’s office within a couple of weeks for the final restoration. Often times he/she will fabricate a custom crown to offer added protection for your tooth.
It is rare for complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. However, if a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, and re-infection of your tooth, continue to practice good dental hygiene and be evaluated regularly at your dentist’s office.
The costs associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of the damage to the affected tooth and the type of tooth that is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth. At your consultation appointment we will be able to discuss all of your treatment options and provide a custom treatment plan that addresses your needs.
Most of our patients comment on how their experience was much better than they ever imagined. You may not believe it but many of our patients actually fall asleep during their root canal treatment. We will take every measure to ensure that your procedure is comfortable. If treatment is needed, we will first place a topical numbing gel in the area. We will then inject a small amount of anesthesia to gently numb a concentrated area of your mouth. For most patients, the feeling of numbness usually subsides after 2-3 hours. If you typically experience a high level of anxiety during dental treatment please inquire about additional anesthesia options for anxiety.
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings.
Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure (retreatment) can save the tooth.
We recommend that you take a combination of an anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) along with acetaminophen (Tylenol) following your procedure. If you cannot take ibuprofen, then acetaminophen (Tylenol) alone would be the next best thing. In certain instances, you will be prescribed an antibiotic, and/or possibly an additional medication for pain. All instructions regarding medication will be thoroughly reviewed with you before you leave, and you will also be given written instructions.
No two teeth are the same. Before we even start treatment we will review the treatment plan for your tooth along with follow up care instructions. In most cases we recommend that you call your restorative dentist as soon as possible to make your follow-up appointment. It is recommended that you have your permanent restoration placed 2-3 weeks after your root canal treatment. This gives your tooth time to heal, but not longer than one month after the procedure. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth. Without a final restoration to protect the tooth it is at risk for fracture or re-infection.