What is a root canal?
Endodontic treatment, commonly known as a root canal, is one of the most common dental procedures - millions of root canals are performed nationally each year. Endodontic therapy treats inside of the tooth. "Endo" is the Greek word for "inside" and "odont" is Greek for "tooth." Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
What are the symptoms of infection?
Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness
to touch and chewing, tooth discoloration, swelling, drainage and tenderness in
the lymph nodes, as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes no
symptoms exist. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will
most likely recommend non-surgical root canal treatment to replace damaged
tissue within the tooth.
How does root canal therapy save the tooth?
Your endodontist will remove the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully clean and
shape the inside of the canal, then fill and seal the space. Afterwards, you will
return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth
to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?
Because the latest techniques are used, most of our patients report that they are comfortable during their endodontic procedure. We also offer nitrous oxide and oral sedation. IV sedation is also available. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if you experienced pain or infection before the procedure. Relieve the discomfort with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Your tooth may also feel slightly different from the other teeth for a short period after your endodontic treatment. If you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, please contact us. After your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your general dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office.