What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. 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 as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. Root canal therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases.
Dr. Fonseca and Dr. Kazim use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia, if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.
If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.
Myths About Root Canals
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT IS PAINFUL
Root canal treatment doesn’t cause pain,
it relieves it. The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago but with modern technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment.
Most patients see their dentist or endodontist when they have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel.
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT CAUSES ILLNESS
Patients searching the Internet for information on root canals may find sites claiming that teeth receiving root canal (endodontic) treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body.
This false claim is based on long-debunked and poorly designed research performed nearly a century ago by Dr. Weston A. Price, at a time before medicine understood the causes of many diseases.
In the 1920s, Dr. Price advocated tooth extraction—the most traumatic dental procedure—over endodontic treatment. This resulted in a frightening era of tooth extraction both for treatment of systemic disease and as a prophylactic measure against future illness.
The truth: There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body. A root canal is a safe and effective procedure. When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth and save the natural tooth.
A GOOD ALTERNATIVE TO ROOT CANAL TREATMENT IS EXTRACTION
Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask whether root canal treatment is an option.
Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.
Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate. Many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime.
Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
What happens after
Root Canal Treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office.
Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery.
If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.
Don't forget your last step!
At this point, you will need to return to your dentist as soon as possible in order to have a new crown or restoration placed on the tooth to restore full functionality.