When Is A Root Canal Needed?
When the tooth becomes cracked, chipped, or has an extensive cavity-causing part of the pulp is exposed, the patient will start to feel discomfort. As this condition is left untreated and the pulp remains exposed, the infection process will progress and the pulp will become inflamed and damaged, this results in varying levels of pain when the patient talks, bites down, eats, or closes his mouth. At this point, root canal treatment could be recommended by the dentist to relieve the pain being experienced by the patient, and also to avoid extracting the tooth and compromising the overall structure and functionality of the patient’s mouth.
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 nerve’s 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.
Root Canal Treatment
Anatomically speaking, a root canal is a chamber inside the root of the tooth that is made up of the pulp chamber, the main canals, and smaller canals that branch out to connect the main root canals to one another, or to the surface of the root. These chambers are hollow spaces that run through the center of the roots and contain soft tissues including the blood vessels, nerves, and other connective tissues. These structures are known collectively as the pulp of the tooth and are important for the nourishment and sensory responses of the tooth. Gentle Dental Care provides full root canal treatment at our office in Edison, New Jersey.
What Should I Expect During A Root Canal?
Prior to a retail treatment, our doctors usually conduct an x-ray examination to assess the full extent of damage to the tooth. A local anesthetic will be administered to the patient to eliminate discomfort during the procedure. The dentist starts by removing the decayed parts of the tooth and creating an opening that will give him access to the root canal. The pulp, blood vessels, and all other cellular structures will be removed to hollow out the chamber, after which it will be clean and reshaped in preparation for the filling material. The empty root canal will be filled with a sealer composite compound to protect it from becoming wet with saliva. And, optionally, to restore the tooth, a dental crown may be placed on top of it.
What Is A Root Canal?
When the pulp in the root canal becomes diseased and it’s already starting to cause the patient pain, root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy, may become necessary to get rid of the infection and protect the tooth from further contamination. This procedure is composed of a series of steps that are designed to remove the pulp, decontaminate the hollowed out chamber, desensitize the remaining nerve endings, and seal the cavity. This process essentially “kills” the tooth to save it from extraction.
Why Do I Need A Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is necessary to avoid a progressive infection. Patients who seek care for a bad toothache often find that the central pulp chamber of the tooth is infected due to decay or injury to the tooth. Without proper care, the infection that has developed in the pulp chamber may spread. Infection that spreads down the root canal to the tip of a root may result in an abscess, a potentially serious infection near the jawbone. Infection may also extend to affect nearby teeth. Getting a root canal is the best way to protect the structures around the infected tooth and also to put a stop to pain.
Can A Root Canal Procedure Be Completed In One Visit?
The root canal process usually takes two visits. The treatment of the root canal occurs in one visit. After the tooth has been sealed, the team takes an impression. This is used to make a model of the tooth. The impression is sent to a dental lab, where a custom crown is fabricated from lifelike dental material. The patient receives a temporary crown to protect the newly-repaired tooth. During the second visit, the temporary crown is replaced with the new crown. This restoration is expected to last several years.
Is It Painful?
Root canals have a bad reputation for being painful. In truth, most pain that relates to a root canal comes from the toothache that precedes treatment. Root canals have come a long way over time. The use of local anesthetic and efficient instruments makes today's root canals painless. Patients will feel the movements of the dentist in the form of pressure. However, these sensations are not uncomfortable. Once the local anesthetic wears off, patients may want to take an over-the-counter medication to manage post-treatment soreness or tenderness.
How Long Is The Recovery Period?
It doesn't take long to recover from a root canal. Patients may need to take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen to manage comfort. To avoid unnecessary stress, we suggest taking medication as directed beginning shortly after the appointment. Doing so can get ahead of post-treatment inflammation and soreness more quickly. While some patients take the remainder of their day to rest and take it easy, most are ready to resume all normal activities the following day. Patients should brush and floss as normal after their root canal procedure to prevent the buildup of plaque near the treatment site.
Can I Eat After A Root Canal Treatment?
Patients may eat as soon as the numbness from the local anesthetic has worn off. They may consume water and other beverages as soon as 30 minutes after the procedure. To prevent unnecessary soreness or disruption to the treatment site, we recommend chewing on the opposite side of the mouth as much as possible until the final crown is placed over the treated tooth.
After A Root Canal, Is My Tooth Dead?
During the root canal, the dentist removes all of the internal pulp, which houses the nerve and blood supply for the tooth. The only remaining part of the tooth is the enamel, which is non-vital. In this regard, the tooth is completely dead after the root canal procedure. This is advantageous because, without the organic material in the pulp chamber, the tooth lacks anything for damaging microorganisms to take hold of. Root canal therapy has a 95% success rate, with the majority of patients maintaining the treated tooth for decades after the root canal.
Will My Treatment Be Covered By Insurance?
Most dental insurance plans cover at least some percentage or portion of the root canal treatment process. This includes the final crown that is placed during the second visit. Coverage amounts can vary from one provider to another. We encourage patients to contact their insurance provider directly for detailed coverage amounts prior to receiving care.
What Should I Expect After My Root Canal?
As mentioned above, you may have some soreness in your jaw joint but not your tooth. Your tooth no longer has any nerves, so it is incapable of feeling any pain. This doesn’t mean it cannot successfully stay in your mouth, as teeth only need the blood supply and other tissues when they are developing as children and teens. You can immediately begin chewing with your tooth and expect it to remain a part of your smile for the duration.
Is There Anything To Do To Prepare For A Root Canal?
There isn’t anything you need to do to prepare for a root canal. If you’re opting to have sedation, you will need someone to drive you home. That’s about it.
Is A Root Canal Performed Under Sedation?
Root canals are performed with the patient under local anesthesia that numbs the tooth and the surrounding gums. If you prefer, we can also provide sedation to help you relax.
What Recovery Will Be Like After My Root Canal
Root canals are surrounded by so much misinformation, as people associate the pain that dictates the need for a root canal with the procedure. The reality is, a root canal with us at Gentle Dental is no more painful than having a routine filling placed. There really isn’t any recovery necessary after having a root canal. There can be some soreness for a day or so afterward, but this is usually simply due to having your mouth open for an hour or more. This is a soreness, not acute pain, and can be easily handled with ibuprofen. If your infection was great enough that you had an abscess, your inflamed gums may need to calm down a bit for a couple of days.
It’s important to remember that a root canal removes all of the infected matter from within the tooth, and this includes all of the nerves. Your tooth is a hollow chamber that no longer has any sensation. It can’t be painful any longer.
Can I Drive Myself Home After Having A Root Canal?
Yes. These are not difficult procedures. In most cases, nothing beyond local anesthetic is required so patients can easily drive themselves home. However, if you opted to also have a sedative to help you relax then someone would need to drive you home.
Needless to say, going to the dentist was not something I looked forward to over the years. That all changed when I found Gentle Dental and my dentist Brad Strober and his caring staff. He not only took care of my teeth, he took care of my self esteem. A better, brighter smile, led to a better, brighter me. The staff was patient, explaining every move. I now know a trip to the dentist…meaning a trip to Gentle Dental is a trip to a better me. I highly recommend Gentle Dental. THANK YOU!!!
Before I even start this review, let me say this: I am a wuss. Wuss, whiner, nightmare patient. I needed an emergency root canal, and, not only did they fit me in, they made sure that I was comfortable with the procedure. It was explained to me, in detail, what was to be done, and what to expect afterward. Dr. Strober was gentle and encouraging, Stephanie was just so sympathetic and amazing. My lifelong fear of dentists was put to rest in about an hour. I am so thankful that my husband found this practice. Thank you so much, Dr. Strober and Steph!!