Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
A root canal procedure is the best way to save a tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury and preserve your natural smile. The alternative is an extraction and treatment to replace the tooth. While at times a tooth is non-restorable and an extraction is the only option, when possible, it’s best to try and save your natural tooth. With proper care, a tooth with root canal therapy care can serve your smile well for many years to come.
Despite lingering myths from before the age of modern dental anesthesia and technology, having a root canal procedure today is as routine and comfortable as visiting the dentist for a filling. While the procedure is performed under local anesthesia with your tooth completely numbed, we can also discuss options in dental sedation.
Whether the symptoms of a dental infection subside after a course of antibiotics, a draining abscess provides you with some temporary pain relief, or a tooth with radiographic evidence of pathology has not yet developed symptoms, it’s essential, before an infection worsens or occurs, to have a root canal procedure performed. In this way, the tooth can be disinfected, filled, and sealed to protect your health and avoid further problems.
If you have sustained a dental injury, have a toothache, jaw pain, swelling, or are experiencing any other unusual and uncomfortable oral symptoms, contact our office immediately for care. Dental problems that have not been evaluated and treated can significantly worsen, producing more severe damage and consequences for the involved teeth, your oral health, and even your overall wellbeing. Once you get in touch with our office, our friendly and compassionate office team will get you in for care at your earliest convenience.
While some root canal procedures can be completed in one visit, others may involve 2 or 3 appointments. How long it takes depends on various factors, including active infection, the number of canals in the tooth, and the tooth’s location or anatomy.
With a success rate that exceeds 95%, root canal therapy remains the most effective procedure to save a tooth in which the inner vital tissues have been damaged. However, as with all healthcare procedures, there are a small percentage of cases where the teeth become symptomatic a second time. The good news is that many of these teeth can still be saved with root canal retreatment or a minor surgical procedure known as an apicoectomy.
The best ways to maintain a tooth with root canal therapy are to get the proper restoration required to rebuild and protect the tooth, maintain proper oral hygiene, and schedule appointments for routine dental checkups and care.
Saving a tooth with root canal therapy is a wise investment that, in the long run, is typically less costly and invasive than having the tooth extracted and replaced with a fixed bridge or implant. As far as the exact cost of care, it can vary depending on which tooth is being treated. Many dental insurance plans provide coverage for root canal therapy. At the office of Monica Rao, DMD, we do our best to optimize your dental benefits and minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Our staff answer all your questions about the cost of care and discuss all your payment options.
At the office of Monica Rao, DMD, we use the latest technology and most effective methods of care to provide precise and gentle care. Our reputation for excellence is based upon a consistent record of achieving successful treatment outcomes while providing prompt, stress-free, and convenient treatment for every type of dental need.