Root Canal Therapy
Endodontics is the specialization of treating tooth pain and addressing complications that lie within the pulp or root of the teeth. Royal Dental has many dentists trained to help relieve even your worst tooth pain for good.
Types of Endodontic Procedures
Endodontists perform a variety of procedures including:
- Root canal
- Root canal resection
- Repair of cracked teeth
- Treating dental trauma
What is a Root Canal?
Root canals are one of the most common procedures used in endodontics. A root canal involves treating problems within the tooth’s soft core, also known as the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the soft tissue found inside the tooth. It extends from the top of the tooth all the way down to the end of the root. The dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth as it grows.
As a tooth grows, the pulp provides nourishment and helps the tooth develop properly. Once the tooth is fully functioning, its nerve is not vital to the tooth’s ability to function. It is also not necessary for sensory functions such as detecting the sensation of hot or cold. As a result, the nerve and tissue can be removed from the tooth to repair and save the tooth from an infected pulp. The mature tooth will be able to survive without the pulp.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Root Canal?
There are two main benefits to having a root canal: you relieve the extreme pain that accompanies an infected tooth, and you keep the tooth. Once decay has entered the interior, the dentin, of the tooth, the infection spreads through the tooth. The nerves roots in the interior of the tooth will become inflamed; this can create significant pain. By removing all of the material inside the tooth — the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue — the source of the pain is removed.
The second benefit is that you can keep the tooth. A tooth where decay has entered the dentin is in real danger of needing extraction. A root canal removes the decay and infection. In many cases, the patient is able to keep the tooth for years, decades, even the rest of his or her life. This is a better option than having to replace the extracted tooth with a dental implant or a bridge.
Am I a Candidate for a Root Canal?
If you have extreme tooth pain that is radiating out through your jaw and face, the odds are you have an infected tooth. The only way to alleviate the pain is to either extract the decayed/infected tooth or have a root canal. A root canal removes the pain and allows you to keep the tooth.
Root Canal Procedure
For the root canal procedure, an incision is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber to allow access to the base of the tooth. The infected or injured pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped. Medication is given to control the infection and promote healing. A small filling may be placed in the remaining tip of the tooth to seal the root canal. The gum tissue is then stitched back into place. Lastly, a dental crown is placed to protect the tooth.
Although many patients think of root canals as being painful, that is usually not the case. Local anesthesia is used to numb the affected area and helps patients relax.
Does Having a Root Canal Hurt?
This is the biggest myth in dentistry — that root canals are extremely painful procedures. Patients often confuse the extreme pain that having an infected tooth creates with the root canal procedure. In actuality, the root canal removes the pain, and the procedure is no more painful than having a cavity filled. A root canal removes the irritated nerves, the infected tissues, and the blood vessels inside the tooth.
When these are gone, the tooth cannot be a source of pain any longer. You may have some residual soreness after your root canal, but that’s mainly from having your mouth open and some soreness as the surrounding tissues calm down after the infection is taken care of.
Will Receiving a Root Canal Also Require a Dental Crown?
Yes. If there is not enough tooth structure left for retention after your root canal procedure to support a crown, a post will be placed down the tooth root. Then a crown buildup will be made and placed around the post where the crown will be placed.
Root Canal Results
A root canal is a highly successful treatment. Following treatment, most patients experience complete relief from their symptoms. A crown or filling can usually repair the appearance of the treated tooth so that other people will not even realize that a root canal was performed.
The results of a root canal procedure can be permanent, as long as the patient practices healthy oral hygiene and visits the dentist on a regular basis.
Root Canal Recovery
There really isn’t any recovery necessary after having a root canal. There will be some soreness afterward for a day or so, but this doesn’t involve sharp pain and is easily managed with ibuprofen. You can immediately use your tooth, as the source of the pain has been removed.
What Are the Risks of a Root Canal?
Root canals are very successful procedures. There is a risk of a reaction to the anesthesia, but this is very rare. If some residual infection remains in the tooth, pain can return, and a follow-up treatment will be necessary. But, again, this is rare.
What Happens If I’m Still in Pain After a Root Canal?
Sometimes the infection persists even after root canal therapy. In these cases, an apicoectomy, or root end resection, can be performed to remove diseased tissue.