Answers to Your Questions About Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is a common dental procedure used to save severely decayed or infected teeth. The treatment process is unique, which leaves many patients curious about what exactly is involved. You might wonder if a root canal is really necessary or what to expect after the procedure is complete.

Here are the answers to these questions and more!

1. What exactly is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is an endodontic procedure used to treat infected teeth. While dental fillings repair external damage on a tooth, root canals treat internal damage.

When bacteria reach the innermost tooth layer, the pulp, they irritate its sensitive tissue and cause it to become inflamed. The pulp becomes infected, and the tooth often develops a terrible toothache as the nerves within the tooth are being damaged.

Dentists relieve this infection by removing the infected pulp, damaged nerve(s), and any decay. The term “root canal” simply describes the removal of this infected tissue from each tooth root.

2. Do I really need one?

Our dentists would never recommend any procedure unnecessarily, and that includes root canal treatments. If your dentist has closely examined your tooth and determined that the pulp is infected or an abscess is present, a root canal isn’t just the best option—it may be your only option.

Remember, root canals are designed to save an infected tooth from loss. This means that they are often the last resort before extraction. Opting to have a tooth extracted may solve your toothache, but it opens up a Pandora’s box of other potential problems associated with tooth loss.

Following through with a recommended root canal treatment will save your tooth and eliminate the need for more costly replacements.

3. A root canal is going to hurt, right?

This is a very popular question, especially for patients who’ve heard that root canals are painful. Rest assured that your root canal is not going to hurt. Root canals give pain relief. During the procedure, your tooth will be completely numb, so you won’t feel anything other than your dentist gently working in your mouth. Many patients are shocked that their root canal appointment wasn’t much different than a dental filling, save for taking a bit longer.

Afterward, you may feel some tenderness around the treated tooth. This usually only lasts for a couple of days. Before you know it, your smile will feel back to normal.

4. How long will root canal treatment take?

Simple root canals typically take 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Complicated root canals are rare, but if your tooth is a tricky case, it may take 60 to 90 minutes to complete. Your dentist will give you an educated estimate as to how long your appointment should take.

5. What can I expect during the procedure?

After you’re comfortable and your tooth is completely numb, your dentist will isolate the tooth with a dental dam and get to work. Using special instruments, your dentist will create a small hole in the top of your tooth to gain access to the interior. They will carefully remove the infected pulp and nerves from the main chamber and each root.

Once the pulp chamber and root canals have been completely cleaned, the tooth will be thoroughly flushed to ensure that no infection or bacteria remains. Once your dentist is satisfied with the result, they will seal the areas and fill them with a special material to replace what was removed. This prevents bacteria from reentering and helps fortify the tooth structure.

After root canals, teeth become more brittle, so a dental crown is the last step in the restoration process. Same day dental crowns can be placed within a single appointment at many offices, while traditional dental crowns, such as those made entirely of porcelain, take a couple of weeks to design. If your crown is fabricated by an outside lab, you’ll be fitted with a temporary crown while you wait.

Get toothache relief through root canal therapy at Barr and Diachenko.

Our dentists are experienced in root canal therapy, including modern techniques for achieving the most effective results. Our root canal treatments are gentle and thorough, and they result in healthy teeth with new, natural-looking crowns. Skilled hands and a great supporting team mean your dentist will be able to complete treatment in a timely manner while you relax comfortably in our chair. We also offer same day crowns to expedite your treatment and recovery.

Think you may need a root canal? Schedule an evaluation today by calling our Millennium Park office or requesting an evaluation using our online form.