Many people have concerns about root canal treatment. In fact, this procedure has many myths surrounding it. Our team at Innovative Endodontics has created this FAQ guide to dispel these myths and answer the top root canal treatment questions.
Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that removes inflamed or infected pulp from inside a tooth’s tiny canals. This procedure is not surgery. It only requires local anesthesia to numb the area. For many patients who have an infection inside a tooth, root canal treatment can allow them to save their tooth.
Bacteria in the mouth can feed on sugars and leftover food particles not brushed away. These bacteria contribute to tooth decay, which can cause cavities. A cavity in a tooth creates a superficial erosion that requires a filling to keep it from growing. If left untreated, the cavity will expand until it reaches the nerve of your tooth, allowing bacteria to reach the interior of your tooth. If this happens, the body is unable to heal itself, but a root canal specialist can clean the tooth thoroughly enabling you to preserve your tooth.
Another reason for needing this treatment is trauma to the tooth that exposes the interior to bacteria. By cleaning out the root canals, the endodontist protects the tooth from further infection, eases pain caused by inflammation, and helps the patient keep the tooth.
First, you will need imaging of your tooth to give the doctor information for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The most important part of any root canal is proper anesthesia. Dr. Estes has special training in this area to ensure complete comfort throughout the entire procedure. You shouldn’t feel anything during the procedure.
The ultimate goal of root canal therapy is to clean the tooth thoroughly. The endodontist will gently clean the tunnels inside the tooth which will feel like nothing more than getting a filling. Ultimately, the treatment provides relief of discomfort.
Once they clean the tooth, the doctor seals the canals to protect them from additional infection and uses a temporary filling in the tooth. As a patient, you need to then go to your dentist to have the temporary filling replaced with a crown or permanent restoration.
As noted, root canal therapy actually relieves discomfort by getting inflamed or infected tissue out of the tooth. During the procedure, you should only feel sensations such as air, water, pressure, and vibration, but you should not experience any discomfort. Most patients only experience mild soreness after treatment, which is very well managed with over-the-counter medications. You will be able to return to all normal functions after treatment.
If your dentist recommends root canal therapy but you choose not to have it, you have the option of getting an extraction. Tooth extraction is a surgical procedure that often requires more healing time and is typically more painful than a root canal. In addition, you would need to consider your options for tooth replacement after your tooth is extracted. If you do not replace the missing tooth, other teeth may shift and you will lose some of your chewing function.
For most people, root canal therapy is a lower cost, quicker, and less painful alternative to tooth extraction and getting an implant.
Though dentists can technically perform root canal therapy, they do not do it very often. In fact, a dentist may only conduct one or two root canal treatments a week.
Endodontists, however, spend years of education after getting their dental degrees to specialize in treating the tooth pulp and interior portions of teeth. Therefore, they have a greater understanding of the anatomy of teeth and how to conduct root canal therapies. The average endodontist will perform 25 root canal treatments each week or more. By doing the procedure more often, endodontists have the time and money to invest in technologically innovative equipment to provide improved root canal treatments for their patients. At Innovative Endodontics, we have high-tech equipment to ensure that we can provide our patients with quality care and minimal pain.
At Innovative Endodontics, we implement several high-tech tools to improve patient comfort and care. Just some of these tools include the J. Morita cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) or 3-dimensional imaging and the Zeiss dental surgical microscope which enables Dr. Estes to illuminate and magnify the interior of the tooth. These tools give Dr. Estes the ability to see more clearly inside a tooth and provide an optimal outcome of root canal treatment.
Just as we have the latest technologies, we also use quality, comforting care for our patients to ensure they have a positive experience. We take care to minimize the anxiety and discomfort our patients feel. One way that we do this is through Dr. Estes’s expertise in pain management. We also help our patients feel more comfortable by keeping them informed through our guides to endodontic care, such as this one.
If you still have root canal treatment questions unanswered, reach out to us at Innovative Endodontics. We can help you with any other information you need. Also, feel free to contact us if you are in Summerville, SC, or the surrounding areas. Dr. Estes will use the most innovative treatment options available to ensure that you have the best care she can offer. In fact, innovation is in our name, Innovative Endodontics.