Signs that you may need root canal treatment
Sometimes you may be asymptomatic and not know anything is wrong. However the classic signs your tooth may need a root canal include
- Sensitivity to hot and cold that lasts for an extended period of time
- Pressure sensitivity when biting or chewing
- A “pimple” forming on the gums
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Darkening of the tooth
- Sporadic pain in your tooth
What is a root canal procedure like?
A root canal typically takes one or two visits to complete. Depending on the tooth and location we may either do the root canal in house or refer you to one of our local Endodontists.
The tooth and surrounding tissue is numbed using a local anesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable throughout the entire procedure. An X-ray is then taken to evaluate the shape of the tooth and to locate all the canals in the tooth. To insure that the tooth doesn’t become reinfected by the bacteria in your mouth, it is isolated with a rubber dam. We then clean the tooth using a file system to remove the nerve and infected tooth structure within the canal of the tooth. We constantly irrigate and cleanse the tooth using a solution of sodium hypochlorite which also serves to remove and debris formed within the canal.
Depending on the extent of the infection, we may choose to place a medication in the canal for a week or choose to seal it on the same day. The canal is then filled and sealed with a material known as gutta percha, and a filling placed. If a posterior tooth receives a root canal, typically further dental treatment is needed. In order to give the tooth with a root canal the best long term prognosis, a crown is placed in order to reinforce the strength of the tooth.
I always hear a root canal is painful. How bad is it really?
We tend to get this question a lot from our patients. Most of our patients report that it is no worse than a filling or crown preparation.
How soon will the pain go away after a root canal?
After root canal treatment you will see yourself feeling better and better during the following days. As a rule of thumb, the more pain you start with, the longer it will take for you to recover. You can control the discomfort with pain medications such as ibuprofen. The majority of patients will be able to go about business the next day with minimal discomfort.
How long will my tooth last after a root canal?
If root canals are performed properly, root canals have an extremely high success rate, up to 95%.
Are there any alternatives to a root canal?
It is our opinion at Redmond Art of Dentistry that saving your natural teeth is the best option. Sometimes a root canal has a poor prognosis or a patient prefers not to have one performed. In such cases, the extraction of the tooth and either an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture is preferred to fill in the missing space. These alternatives will be evaluated on a case by case basis and Dr. Bickel and Merchant will discuss the pros and cons of each option.