What is a root canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures and well over 14 million are performed every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and gums.
How is a root canal performed?
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves 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. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within 30 days of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are always available. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
How much will it cost?
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.
General Instructions Prior to Root Canal Treatment:
This procedure is performed using local anesthesia (numbing), therefore, there are usually no restrictions concerning driving. Time required for the procedure is usually one hour.
- Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is any question, please call our office prior to appointment.
- Eat a full breakfast or lunch as applicable.
- If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic or premedication because of Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), heart murmer, hip, knee, cardiac or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment. If there is a question, please call the office prior to your appointment.
Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm. Do not chew food on the affected side until your endodontic therapy is completed and your tooth is covered with a protective restoration provided by your restorative dentist. You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen. Discomfort may be alleviated by taking ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. NOTE: Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications. Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed medications, or should swelling develop, please contact us immediately.
After Completion of Endodontic Treatment:
Endodontic treatment has now been completed. The root canal system has been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface is sealed with a temporary restoration. A follow-up restoration must be placed to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. Please telephone your restorative dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. A complete report of treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist.