Root canals relieve tooth pain, and are not as scary or painful as most people think. There is perhaps no dental procedure more widely known and misunderstood than the root canal. Root canal is a quick and relatively pain-free treatment key to saving your natural teeth.
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Root canal (endodontic) therapy is actually an extremely safe, relatively pain-free treatment that has helped millions of people preserve the health of their teeth across the country. Rather than causing discomfort, root canal therapy is often the most immediate and effective way of relieving excruciating tooth pain.
Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment is an excellent procedure that can save a severely infected tooth, preventing its removal. It gets rid of severe toothache and is no more uncomfortable than a filling. Once the procedure is complete, it helps to prevent the tooth from becoming reinfected.
We prefer to save natural teeth whenever possible, as it is almost always the best solution. Otherwise, we would need to replace the tooth with a dental bridge or a dental implant, both of which would cost more and require more time to complete compared with a root canal procedure.
It’s necessary to know how your tooth is formed to understand a root canal procedure.
“The most immediate and effective way of relieving excruciating tooth pain.”
Each tooth in the human mouth contains a long, thin strand of pulp that extends down into the root of the tooth. This dental pulp contains nerves, arteries, blood vessels, and connective tissue that can be damaged by decay or injury. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed, the result is often unbearable tooth pain and, over time, the death of the tooth. Root canal therapy involves the removal of this affected pulp through a gap that is created in the natural crown of the tooth. Once the pulp has been removed and the root canal has been cleaned and filled with a material to prevent further infection, the tooth is sealed with a porcelain crown.
One of the primary advantages of root canal therapy is that it allows for the preservation of most of the natural tooth. In addition, our Waterlase® laser dentistry system allows us to perform root canal therapy with absolute precision and without the use of a traditional drill, further taking the anxiety out of a largely pain-free procedure.
Right at the center of your tooth is a collection of soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels called the dental pulp. It’s housed in a space called the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber has channels or root canals extending into the tooth root. The dental pulp tissues extend into these root canals, providing nutrition to the tooth, which is essential while it is developing. Once a tooth is fully developed, it can survive without the dental pulp but is called a ‘non-vital’ tooth because it is essentially dead inside.
Normally your dental pulp is protected by the outer layers of your tooth, which include the dentin around it and the tough outer layer of tooth enamel that protects the entire portion of the tooth visible in the mouth. If the tooth enamel becomes damaged through infection or decay, harmful bacteria can enter the tooth, eroding the dentin and causing a cavity that eventually reaches the dental pulp.By the time the infection has reached the dental pulp, you will most likely have a severe toothache because it will aggravate the nerves in the pulp. The infection cannot clear up on its own and does require professional dental care to prevent it worsening, and so we can try to save the tooth with root canal treatment.
An infected tooth can be extremely painful, and we make every effort to see people in discomfort or pain as quickly as possible. We can perform diagnostic tests to determine if a tooth is infected. These include digital dental x-rays and tests to assess tooth sensitivity. Once we have determined if an infection is present, we will discuss if root canal treatment is a suitable option.Not every infected tooth can be saved with root canal treatment. If the infection is especially severe and has developed into a dental abscess, we may have no alternative but to remove the tooth so the infection can drain.
If you have a toothache, please contact us for help. The sooner we treat tooth infections, the greater the chance that we can save the tooth. We will also make sure you feel much more comfortable and are pain-free quickly.
A root canal procedure is also called root canal therapy or endodontic therapy. It’s an intricate treatment that cleans out the pulp chamber, removing your dental pulp and all the tissues extending into the root canals. Getting rid of these tissues helps to eliminate the infection, allowing us to fill and restore the tooth permanently.
During treatment, we first numb the tooth to keep you as comfortable as possible. Our dentist will make a small opening in the crown of the tooth so we can see the pulp chamber. Next, we use special tools to clean the pulp chamber thoroughly, cleaning the root canals with specially shaped files. Often, we will use a microscope during treatment to make sure we remove all the infected material. Root canal treatment shouldn’t feel any worse than having an ordinary filling, although the procedure can take considerably longer because it requires considerable technique and skill.Once the pulp chamber and root canals are empty, they are cleaned and disinfected. Sometimes we place topical antibiotics into the empty pulp chamber to ensure the infection is eliminated. When we are satisfied that the tooth is free from infection, we place a permanent filling to seal it completely. If the infection weakens the tooth significantly, we might strengthen it with a specially made post before restoring it fully.
Usually, a tooth that has received root canal therapy has lost a significant part of its original structure because of the infection and decay. Placing a dental crown that covers the entire tooth restores strength, structure, and appearance and protects it from further infection.
Root canal recovery should be pretty short, although initially, your tooth may feel a little tender until it begins to settle down. There shouldn’t be any significant pain after root canal treatment, and your tooth should feel much more comfortable because the infection has been removed.
Caring for your tooth after root canal treatment is essential to ensure it remains strong and healthy. Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day and that you floss your teeth once a day. Removing plaque and food debris will help prevent infection. Regular checkups and hygiene appointments allow us to monitor the condition of root treated teeth and to clean your teeth professionally.
The cost of canal therapy depends on the tooth requiring treatment. While a front tooth will only have a single tooth root and one root canal, a large back tooth can have three tooth roots and root canals requiring treatment. Also, some tooth roots are quite curved and tricky to clean out, so treatment takes longer and is more intricate.After we have assessed your tooth and determine the extent of infection using digital x-rays, we can discuss the cost of treatment.
With the right oral care, a root canal treatment can last for years or life. However, occasionally a tooth might become reinfected. Reinfection can happen some months or years after the initial treatment. If this happens, we need to reassess the tooth very carefully. Sometimes it is possible to retreat the tooth and avoid extraction, and of course, this is our preferred choice. Other times, it may be better to consider tooth removal and to use the money toward a long-lasting solution like a dental implant. We will discuss all possible solutions with you, including the costs of each option.
Our dentists here at Gentle Dental can discuss all options suitable for your situation and will explain the possible pros and cons of root canal procedure. As with any treatment we provide, we make sure you have all the information necessary for an informed treatment choice. For more information about the root canal therapy in Queens, contact Gentle Dental at (718) 461-0100.