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Root Canal Treatments at All Smiles Dentistry

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.

Happy couple smiling

Signs & Symptoms for Root Canal Therapy

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe toothache pain
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present
  • Swelling and / or tenderness
Family of three at dentist office

Reasons for Root Canal Therapy

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth

What Does Root Canal Therapy Involve

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Because root canal treatments are often so misunderstood, we understand that you may have some questions and concerns about them. Here are some of the most common questions and answers relating to root canal treatment. If you have a question that you don’t see here, feel free to call our office for more information.

Is root canal treatment painful?

Learning that you need a root canal in order to save a tooth can cause a lot of anxiety, largely in part to what you may have heard about the procedure. While root canal procedures used to be painful, they haven’t been since the onset of modern dental technology, such as cutting-edge equipment and effective numbing agents.
Today, a root canal is no more uncomfortable than a tooth extraction. After the local anesthetic is delivered, you won’t be able to feel anything more than some slight pressure and the occasional tug. This is a small price to pay for a procedure that has the potential to save your smile in the long run.

Is root canal treatment expensive?

A root canal is no more expensive than having a tooth removed, and less expensive when compared to a tooth extraction plus an implant or a bridge being placed. For most patients, a root canal is a relatively painless and inexpensive way to save one or more teeth.

I’m not experiencing pain. Is a root canal necessary?

If one of the dental experts at All Smiles Dentistry has deemed that you need a root canal treatment, it’s necessary. Actually, it’s pretty common for the pain of a root canal issue to not bother you too much at first, and if you’re prescribed something for the pain you may not even feel it at all. This is because when the root of your tooth is infected, it won’t typically produce serious pain until it develops into a more serious issue.
When this occurs, a root canal treatment may not even be possible to save the tooth, and you’ll be looking at a longer, more expensive process.

How long does it take to recover?

The recovery time after a root canal is usually only one or two days. Many times, your dentist will prescribe an OTC pain reliever to manage the after-effects once the anesthetic wears off. You’ll only experience minimal lasting effects after that one or two-day period.

Will other people be able to tell that I had a root canal?

Typically, a crown is placed over teeth that have been treated with a root canal, both to hide any evidence of the procedure and to protect the teeth from biting/chewing force.

Is a root canal treatment covered by dental insurance?

Most dental insurers consider root canal treatment a necessary and standard dental procedure, which means that it will be covered by insurance. However, coverage levels depend on the copay and deductible policies of individual insurers.

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