Root canals are the treatment of choice when the roots of your teeth become badly infected. Within the roots lies the pulp, which contains nerve endings and live tissue. Infected pulp causes pain, swelling, and can even result in the loss of the tooth. To preserve the tooth, the infection and any damaged parts of the tooth must be removed. Then, to protect the tooth and give it a natural appearance, a crown is placed over the remaining portion of the tooth.
Did You Know?
According to the American Association of Endodontists, millions of root canals are performed every year, resulting in the successful preservation of millions of teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a root canal?
You may need a root canal if you are experiencing pain, sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, pain while chewing, tooth tenderness when touched, tooth discoloration, or notice swelling, drainage, or tenderness of the surrounding gum tissue or lymph nodes. All these symptoms indicate infected pulp, and the only treatment for infected pulp is a root canal. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you will want to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists at Fox Valley Dental to have your teeth examined for infected pulp.
What happens during a root canal?
During your root canal, our dentists will first numb the tooth and use a protective sheet called a dental dam to isolate the affected tooth. Then, a tiny opening will be made in the crown that will allow us to access the infected pulp.
The infected pulp will then be cleaned out and completely removed. Once the pulp has been removed, we will clean the remaining area and then prepare it for a filling by shaping it accordingly. Our dentists will then fill the space with adhesive cement and gutta-percha, which is a biocompatible, rubber-like material.
A temporary filling will then be replaced to protect your tooth until a permanent restoration can be manufactured and placed. Finally, your permanent restoration will be placed, usually at another appointment, and your tooth will be completely restored to its original functionality.
Do root canals hurt?
During your root canal, you will be anesthetized and should not feel any pain. Most people report that root canals are no more uncomfortable than receiving a filling. If you experienced pain before the root canal, you may have some soreness in the days following the root canal while your tooth recovers. However, this is easily remedied with over the counter pain medication.
What happens after a root canal?
After your root canal, you will most likely have a temporary restoration placed until your permanent restoration is ready. While wearing your temporary restoration, you will need to avoid biting down on this tooth to prevent it from fracturing. Once you have your permanent restoration, your tooth will have full function and you can return to your normal diet.
You will also want to continue to use good oral habits including twice daily brushing, once daily flossing, and dental checkups every six months with Fox Valley Dental.
How long will root canals last?
Once treated with a root canal, your tooth should have the same lifespan as your natural teeth. In some cases, however, your tooth may not heal properly or become diseased again after treatment.
Can root canals fail?
In some rare cases, root canals can fail. One reason is because there may have been narrow canals that were not initially treated and have become infected again.
Root canals may need to be repeated if new decay develops, trauma occurs, or if a filling becomes loose, cracked, or broken and causes an infection.
When root canals fail, the preferred method of treatment is to retreat the tooth using root canal therapy. An apicoectomy, which is a surgical procedure that removes infection from the base of the tooth instead of the crown, can also be used, as well as tooth extraction.
Are root canals safe?
When it comes to pulp infections, root canals are the safest option. Extraction is the only other alternative and has many more risks for complications. In addition, the American Association of Endodontics notes that 25 million root canals are performed safely every year.
Another common question pertaining to the safety of root canals deals with root canals causing illness. About a century ago, it was believe that root canals could be the cause of many illness and diseases. However, current research has found no evidence to support this claim and has since found no relation between root canals and illness.
Are root canals expensive?
The cost of your root canal depends on how severe the infection is and which tooth is affected. Generally speaking, molars can cost more because they are harder to treat. However if you have dental insurance, you should be able to receive partial coverage to offset the cost.
It is also important to note that root canals are less expensive that tooth extractions that will then require other restoration methods such as dental implants or bridges. If the tooth is lost and not restored, this can cause shifting in the adjacent teeth, decreased bone mass in the jawbone, and a loss of function.
If you are in need of a root canal, schedule a consultation with Dr. Dokhanchi and Dr. Micaletti of Fox Valley Dental today! We are proud to serve Aurora, as well as the surrounding communities of Sugar Grove, North Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, Montgomery, Oswego, and Naperville.