Your teeth are composed of several layers. The innermost layer, the pulp, contains nerve tissue and blood vessels. If the pulp becomes infected or the tooth’s nerve becomes exposed, a root canal will be necessary.
Root canal therapy (also referred to as endodontic therapy) allows patients to save tooth structure while treating issues with the tooth’s pulp. A root canal is actually a conservative alternative to an extraction. Receiving a root canal helps you keep your natural teeth in place and bounce back from advanced tooth decay or tooth damage.
Millions of root canals are performed every year. The procedure itself is similar to a standard filling for a cavity. If you’re anxious about root canal therapy, read answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below and get in touch for more information.
Why do I need a root canal?
Dr. Phillippi will tell you more about the reason he is recommending root canal therapy for your tooth. Some of the common reasons endodontic therapy becomes necessary include:
- Cavity that has reached the pulp
- Cracked, chipped or broken tooth that has exposed the nerve
- Repeat dental procedures performed on one tooth
- Accident or other physical damage that compromised the tooth
The best way to avoid the need for a root canal is scheduling regular dental exams every six months. This allows you to identify dental problems early before they grow.
What is the root canal procedure like?
The complete process typically takes one or two appointments. The patient is numbed so that they will not experience discomfort during the procedure. The tooth is isolated from the rest of the mouth using a dental dam. A small entry hole is drilled in the tongue-facing side of the tooth or the bite surface. The pulp is then removed through the hole, and the root canal(s) filled. Once the tooth has healed, a crown is typically placed to restore and protect the tooth.
Will my root canal be painful?
Root canal therapy has a false reputation for being especially uncomfortable. In reality, you will be numb and should not experience pain. We will do everything possible to ensure a positive experience. Anxious patients may benefit from sedation to feel calm during the procedure.
Those in need of a root canal may be in extreme pain prior to the procedure. After the tooth pulp is removed and the tooth heals, they will regain comfort and find relief from the infection-related symptoms.
Will my tooth feel different after my root canal?
Root canal therapy allows for you to return to normal – while keeping your tooth. A tooth that has undergone endodontic therapy can still be used to complete all your usual activities, including chewing and biting. Once it has healed, your tooth will feel normal. The crown will help restore the tooth and also hide any aesthetic changes that can occur after a root canal (the tooth can darken).
If you are in pain and suspect you may benefit from a root canal, don’t hold back due to anxiety. We will help you discover a healing procedure that restores your tooth to health and comfort to your daily life.