Root canal therapy, or a “root canal,” for short, is the best way to save an infected tooth. With this endodontic treatment, you can eliminate the source of the infection, get relief from your toothache, and protect the tooth for years to come.
Root canal therapy is a procedure used to treat infected teeth. Tooth infections usually happen due to oral trauma which breaks the tooth, or advanced decay that eats through the hard outer layers of the tooth, creating a very large cavity.
This treatment involves creating an opening in an infected tooth, then using special tools to clean the inside of the tooth and eliminate the infection. When properly performed, a root canal will fully restore the tooth and protect it for 10+ years, and many root canals last a lifetime.
First, your tooth will be cleaned and the area will be numbed by the team at ONE ENDO for your comfort. You can also be sedated for your comfort.
Your endodontist will use a dental drill to trim away damaged enamel and create an opening in your tooth. Through this opening, the interior of your tooth will be cleaned.
Your dentist will extract decayed and damaged material from inside your tooth using special dental tools, and will flush and clean the interior to eliminate any remaining bacteria.
The inside of the tooth is filled with a biocompatible material that replaces the missing pulp, and then is sealed with a temporary crown or a filling. You may need to come back for another appointment for a permanent crown.
At our office, we use Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) imaging to create 3D images of your jaw and tooth for better results. Here are some of the benefits of this process.
When root canal therapy fails, it’s often because of hidden issues with the tooth that were not visible when imaging the area. CBCT enhances precision and accuracy for better results.
CBCT imaging streamlines the process of root canal treatment, reducing the time you spend in our waiting room and in the dentist’s chair, too!
CBCT helps our dentists at ONE ENDO eliminate the infection completely in one treatment, reducing the need for endodontic re-treatment.
No, root canal treatment is not painful. There’s a common misconception that root canal procedures are painful because of the debilitating pain they used to cause in the past, but that was before modern dentistry tools, technology, and anesthesia were around to make the procedure painless. Now, root canals are no more painful than a routine dental filling!
We administer local anesthesia which numbs your mouth and ensures you don’t feel any pain or discomfort. The first procedure of the root canal, in which we remove the damaged pulp and clean the canals inside of the tooth, will relieve any pain you have been experiencing from swelling and infection.
After the numbing agent wears off a few hours post-procedure, you may experience some tenderness, sensitivity, or mild pain. This will typically subside within a few days and in the meantime can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication.
If you are experiencing significant pain that persists for more than a few days, you should contact us right away, as this is abnormal and could be a sign of a new infection.
There are a few alternatives to a root canal in limited situations but once the pulp of your tooth has become extensively damaged, your only other option will be to extract the tooth. An alternative treatment for inflamed pulp that is not infected would be a pulpotomy.
This is different from the pulpectomy that is involved in a root canal because after the damaged pulp is removed, the tooth’s nerve and canals are left intact. A solution will be applied to the canals to stop the growth of bacteria, such as calcium hydroxide, and then the tooth is filled back up.
Another alternative treatment is called direct pulp capping which can be used to treat more severe cases, usually in children or in adults in emergencies. It involves applying a sedative dressing to the pulp of the tooth, such as calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA), before filling the tooth. This dressing protects the pulp and aids in tissue repair. However, this is usually only viable when a minimal amount of pulp is exposed.
The most common alternative to a root canal is tooth extraction. However, we highly recommend using extraction as a last resort and doing everything you can to save your tooth first. Root canals are 95% effective and while you can always have an extraction later, you can’t always have a root canal. Losing a tooth comes along with a lot of consequences and you will need to have the tooth replaced.
If the dentist has recommended root canal treatment, it is for a reason. Typically the only viable alternative to a root canal is to have the tooth extracted. Simply ignoring the damage to the tooth’s pulp can result in the infection spreading to the rest of the body and into the bloodstream, which can cause sepsis and be extremely dangerous.
The pain will get worse and infection can spread to the surrounding teeth. If you don’t want to go through with a root canal, you will need to have the tooth removed. We highly recommend trying to save the tooth because tooth loss can cause irreversible bone loss.
The only tooth replacement that can preserve the jaw bone is a dental implant which would be more expensive than getting a root canal in the first place. You will need to replace an extracted tooth with implants, a bridge, or a partial denture.
Leaving the space unfilled will cause your teeth to shift which will lead to changes in your face’s structure and appearance. If this happens, your teeth could become crooked or your jaw could become misaligned.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a decayed tooth or damage to your tooth’s pulp, you might need a root canal to save it. Contact us at Endodontics of Westchester Shore & Greenwich Endodontics today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicholas Mastroianni, Dr. Dean Saccomanno, or Dr. Michael Cotter.
You may need a root canal if you’ve got an infected tooth. Infected teeth happen when the outer layer of your tooth is damaged, exposing the vulnerable “pulp” inside the tooth to bacteria. This pulp is full of nerves and blood vessels that keep your tooth alive.
So when the pulp becomes infected, the tooth slowly begins to die, and you’ll usually experience severe pain and discomfort. A root canal is the best way to prevent this. By removing any infected pulp and repairing your tooth, root canal therapy from your endodontist at ONE ENDO keeps your tooth healthy and preserves it for years to come.
Root canals are always the best way to treat infected teeth. Unless the infection is extremely severe, root canals can save your tooth, preventing the need for tooth extraction and replacement. Extracting and replacing a tooth is a lot more complicated and expensive, so it’s always better to choose a root canal, when possible.
The symptom that most patients notice first is pain in one of their teeth. If you have tooth pain or a toothache that lasts longer than a day or two, this could indicate a tooth infection that needs treatment with root canal therapy. It’s best to call ONE ENDO right away to get a consultation and determine the cause of your pain.
There are some other signs to look out for, too. The tooth may be more sensitive to the pressure of chewing, and to really hot or really cold foods. You may also notice discoloration and inflammation of the gum tissue near the tooth. In some cases, the tooth itself may also look discolored or dark.
In more serious infections, you may notice severe swelling near the tooth, or you may even have difficulty chewing or swallowing. This could indicate that the infection has progressed quite a bit, causing a dental abscess. You need to get help from a dentist right away for an abscess, since it can cause life-threatening complications.
And if you notice any of the above issues, you should get in touch with ONE ENDO for a consultation. One of our endodontists will examine your tooth, determine the cause of your discomfort, and recommend the appropriate treatment, such as root canal therapy.
If you have dental insurance, your procedure will almost always be covered by your plan up to applicable limits. Root canals are considered to be essential for protecting your oral health. That means that, unlike some other procedures that are considered “non essential,” they will be covered by your dental plan.
However, every plan has different deductibles, limits, and out-of-pocket costs. You may still need to pay for part of your procedure at ONE ENDO. If you’re not sure about your insurance coverage, we recommend contacting your insurer directly, or consulting your policy documents. That way, you can learn more about how much you will pay and what your insurance will cover before you come in for your appointment.
Without root canal therapy, infected teeth will continue to die, and will eventually require removal. Get a root canal to save your smile! If you want more information regarding our services, take a look at our frequently asked questions.