Endodontic Treatment - Root Canal

Endodontic Treatment

When most people think of going to the dentist, they think of having their teeth cleaned and whitened, their cavities filled, and their smiles corrected with crowns, bridges, and dental implants.

While it’s true that much of what we do involves parts of the teeth that can be seen with the naked eye, we also perform many services and procedures to diagnose and treat conditions that can’t easily be seen with the naked eye.

These treatments are known as endodontic (inside the tooth) treatments, and they target two parts of the innermost layers of teeth: the pulp and the roots.

Root Canals Are the Most Common Endodontic Treatment

Due to years of jokes in TV shows and movies, the phrase “root canal” may send shivers down your spine. But despite a reputation for being a painful procedure, root canals are nothing to be feared.

In fact, they’re the most common endodontic procedures. Skilled dental professionals perform around 15 million root canals every year for an average of 41,000 every day nationwide!

What Are Root Canals?

First, the phrase “root canal” describes a part of the tooth rather than the procedure itself. The root canal of a tooth is a hollow area that contains nerves, blood vessels, and pulp.

When people have treatments performed inside their root canals, they are receiving endodontic treatment or therapy. However, most people, including many dentists, still refer to these treatments or therapies as root canals.

Why Are Root Canals Needed?

Root canals are performed on people who have damaged or diseased pulp inside their teeth. Pulp can be damaged by deep cavities, cracks, or loose fillings. These can allow bacteria to enter the pulp deep inside of teeth. People with damaged pulp may experience severe pain and sensitivity to hot and cold.

Over time, the bacteria inside the tooth can destroy the pulp and even penetrate deep enough to cause an infection in the bone. If the infection is untreated for a long enough period, it can begin to damage the bone and weaken it. Eventually, the tooth itself may become loose and will need to be extracted.

Root Canals Can Save Teeth with Damaged Pulp

Extraction isn’t the only solution for teeth with damaged pulp, nor is it always the best solution. While pulling a tooth with damaged pulp can help relieve pain and sensitivity, it can introduce many other problems. Surrounding teeth may shift, eating may become difficult, and food may become stuck in the socket of the extracted tooth.

Root canals can not only save a tooth with damaged pulp, but they can also reduce or eliminate pain and temperature sensitivity.

How Do Root Canals Work?

First, the inside of the tooth is made accessible via the creation of a small hole on its surface. Then, a combination of tiny files and irrigation solutions help clean, shape, and decontaminate the root canal area.

Root canals are effective because they allow dentists to remove the inflamed pulp and to thoroughly clean and seal the entire root canal area of the affected tooth. This process not only eliminates the unpleasant symptoms of pulp damage, but it also helps strengthen the tooth, which can help prevent future complications.

Are Root Canals Painful?

Root canals are performed under local anesthesia, which means patients typically feel very little or no pain at all while they’re being performed. In most cases, patients experience far more pain BEFORE their root canals due to the damaged pulp and nerve damage.

It’s common for patients to not only experience no pain during their root canals, but to also experience immense pain relief after they’re completed. That’s because not only has the infection been cleared, but the nerve tissue has also been removed.

What Happens After a Root Canal?

Some tenderness in the hours and days after a root canal is common, but most patients say their pain level is decreased even with the tenderness. That’s because the infection and pulp damage that necessitates root canals in the first place is often very painful.

Because the pulp inside it has been removed, a tooth that has received a root canal needs a crown or filling to help protect and support it. After the crown or filling has been added, the tooth will be pain-free and fully functional when eating.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

If you have an infection inside your tooth and you want to save your tooth rather than extracting it, you may be a good candidate for a root canal. Although dental implants work well to replace extracted teeth, it’s almost always better to save a natural tooth whenever possible, which is why root canals are such effective and common procedures.

Ultimately, your dentist can help you make the right decision about extracting your tooth or having a root canal performed.

101st Adult Dentistry Is Here to Help with Your Endodontic Treatments

Our dental practice focuses on every aspect of healthy teeth from the outside in. Unfortunately, many people have no idea what’s causing their tooth pain, and they ignore it for weeks, months, or even years. When it’s due to bacteria getting inside their root canals and damaging their pulp, they may end up experiencing excruciating pain.

If this describes you, we want to help. You shouldn’t have to suffer from tooth pain any longer. Let our team diagnose you and give you a treatment plan, including a root canal if necessary. Request an appointment.