Non Surgical Root Canal
What is a root canal?
A root canal, also referred to as endodontic therapy, is a routine dental procedure performed to treat and save an infected tooth.
At the center of your tooth, below the layers of white enamel and dentin, is the pulp chamber. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that help to build and nourish the surrounding tooth. If the pulp chamber becomes infected, a root canal is often indicated. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified by visible injury or swelling, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist may recommend root canal treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp.
How is a root canal performed?
The first step in the process of root canal treatment is the administration of local anesthetic to numb your tooth. You should not feel any pain during a root canal, so we make sure your tooth is completely numb before we start treatment. Once you are comfortable, a small opening called an access hole is made on the top of the tooth. The dentist will use small instruments to remove the diseased tissue from the pulp chamber. The root canal system is then thoroughly cleaned and sealed with a rubbery filling material called gutta percha. When the root canal treatment is complete, a temporary, medicated filling is placed in the access hole and the tooth is given about four to six weeks to completely heal. You will be able to drive home from your appointment and will be able to return to your normal routine the next day.
What happens after root canal treatment?
It is rare for patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment; however, if a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond.
A tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy will become brittle and need a permanent restoration placed for protection. Dr. Loeffler, Dr. Pitt or Dr. Stephens will recommend appropriate of restoration to protect the tooth. The temporary filling will be removed and replaced with a stronger filling material called a core. Some treated teeth, especially molars, will also need a crown to prevent fracture and to ensure long term success of the root canal treatment.
How successful are root canals?
The success rate for this type of procedure is about 90% in most cases. Practicing good oral hygiene will help prevent further decay in the tooth. If your tooth is not a good candidate for root canal treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or if a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.
How much will root canal treatment cost?
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.
Referral to an Endodontic Specialist
Some teeth, such as molars, can be more challenging to treat endodontically because they have more than one root and nerve canal. In such situations, we will refer you to one of our trusted colleagues who specialize in endodontic therapy. These specialists, called Endodontists, use special instruments and microscopes to ensure the tooth is fully treated and sealed. You will then be advised to return to our office after the tooth has healed to have the final restoration placed.