Root Canal Therapy Q& A

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a technique used to preserve a tooth that's at risk of being lost due to decay or damage to the tooth's interior portion, called the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues that support the health of the tooth. These tissues and vessels are located in channels or canals that extend from the tooth down to the jaw. Root canal uses special techniques to remove damaged pulp in these canals while preserving the rest of the tooth so extraction can be avoided.

Are root canals painful?

Local anesthesia (freezing) makes treatment painless. While there may be some discomfort for a brief period after treatment, this can be controlled with aspirin strength medications.

What will happen to my tooth after root canal therapy?

It will be necessary for you to see your dentist have a permanent filling placed or a cap (crown) made for the tooth. Your dentist will assist you in choosing the most suitable kind of restoration.

Why can’t i use antibiotics to make the abscess go away?

Unfortunately, when a tooth is infected, the blood supply (pulp) running through the tooth is affected as well. As a result, there is no way to conduct the antibiotics to the needed area. They do, however, assist in controlling and eliminating infection in the surrounding bone before and after root canal therapy.

Will my tooth last forever after treatment?

Root canal therapy has been reported to be up to 95% successful. Many factors influence the treatment outcome: the patient’s general health, bone support around the tooth, the strength of the tooth including possible fracture lines, shape and condition of the root and nerve canal(s) and continued follow-up care with your general dentist. Although we cannot guarantee the successful outcome of root canal procedures, you can be assured that the most advanced techniques and treatments modalities will be performed to ensure the best prognosis possible.

What should i expect after treatment?

Insect bites, burns, scrapes, and cuts; all of these will produce inflammation of the skin characterized by redness (an increase in the blood flow to the area) and therefore swelling. Removal of pulp tissue from a root canal can produce an inflammation in the socket holding the tooth. Unlike our skin which can expand, increased fluid in bone produces pressure on sensitive structures like the membranes of our sinuses or large nerve structures in our jaw. All inflammation takes 7 to 10 days to disappear (think how long cold lasts). The medications you are given will help to minimize any discomfort from the inflammation resulting from your condition and the treatment rendered, however, if you are unsure, please feel free to contact our office so that we may check the progress of your healing.

How is root canal therapy performed?

Root canal therapy, or RCT, uses an approach similar to the approach used in treating more superficial decay, but special instruments are needed to access the deeper areas. During the procedure, the tooth is numbed and decayed material is carefully removed. The canals are carefully cleaned of debris, then sealed and filled to prevent future infection and to help provide stability to the tooth. Once the filling and sealing are complete, an impression is made and a temporary crown is placed on the tooth. During a second visit, the temporary crown will be removed and the permanent crown will be placed over the tooth to protect it and to hide any discoloration that may occur once the pulp is removed.

Is root canal better than extraction?

In most cases, it's a better option to save a natural tooth if possible rather than have it extracted. That's because removing a tooth can disrupt the normal bite mechanics, resulting in uneven tooth wear, jaw strain, and other problems. Also, removing a tooth and replacing it with a bridge or implant is a more costly option than preserving a tooth with a root canal. Plus, if a missing tooth is not replaced, it can cause the roots of neighboring teeth to shift, causing those teeth to become weakened and increasing the risk of additional tooth loss.

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