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.
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. Oftentimes 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 patients let us know that their experience was different than how they imagine root canal treatment to be. The treatment can be very relaxing and it is not uncommen to have patients fall asleep. We take every step to make sure that your treatment is comfortable.
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.
Before we start treatment we will review the treatment plan for your tooth as well as follow up care instructions. It is recommended that you return to your general dentist after your endodontic procedure for the placement of a definitive restoration. Failure to do so in a timely manner may result in fracture or re-infection, which may lead to the need for subsequent root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth. This step is imperative for the long-term prognosis of your tooth.