Root Canals

What is a root canal?

Root canal therapy is a very common dental procedure. According to recent statistics in the United States alone almost 41,000 root canals are performed every day and close to 15 million are done over the course of a year. Because it has high success rate, a root canal procedure is considered one of the most effective methods of saving and retaining a tooth that has been severely compromised by dental decay or injury.

Your teeth are much more than just the hard outer biting surfaces and the roots. Inside of each one is a central chamber that contains connective tissue, a nerve supply, and blood vessels. Collectively these core tissues, known as the dental pulp, help your tooth to grow and mature before it emerges into the mouth. Once your tooth is in place, the dental pulp provides nourishment, keeps the tooth vital, and alerts you of problems. Having sensitivity to various stimuli like biting down and eating or drinking hot or cold items is a warning from the nerves inside your tooth that dental decay is present, dental trauma has occurred, or an infection is brewing. The degree of pain that you experience depends on the extent of the damage and nerve involvement.

If your dentist informs you that a tooth needs a root canal, it is because the dental pulp has become irreversibly damaged or has died. However, if enough intact tooth structure remains and there is healthy bone support around the compromised tooth, you do not need to have the tooth extracted. A fully developed tooth does not require the dental pulp to remain functional. You can preserve your natural tooth by having your dentist perform a root canal on the tooth.

It is important that when a root canal is recommended, you begin care promptly. Delaying the procedure increases the risk of more widespread symptoms developing. Left untreated a dental infection can develop or worsen and have serious consequences to your overall health

How is a root canal performed?

With the modern dental instruments and advanced techniques available today having a non-surgical root canal procedure is often as comfortable as getting a routine dental filling. While some root canals can be completed in one visit, others may involve 2 or 3 appointments. How long it takes depends on factors such as the number of canals in a tooth, their anatomy and whether an active infection is present. If it is determined that the tooth is not a candidate for a root canal procedure, or if complications develop during or after care that have an impact on the prognosis of your tooth, the dentist will inform you.

During a non-surgical root canal procedure your dentist will remove the diseased dental pulp, clean the internal portion of your tooth, and then fill all the prepared canals with a biocompatible filling material. Non-surgical root canal therapy is typically performed under local anesthesia, but additional options like nitrous oxide are available to reduce any anxiety that may be associated with dental procedures.

What happens after treatment?

Once your root canal therapy is completed and the tooth is symptom free, you are to return to your restorative dentist. Our office will send your dentist a record of your endodontic care. Your restorative dentist may then recommend placing a permanent restoration like a crown on the tooth. This will protect the tooth and give it back its appropriate natural form and function.

How much will it cost?

While the cost varies depending on which tooth is involved and the complexity of the case, saving a tooth by means of a root canal procedure is a wise investment. With proper maintenance and care teeth that have been treated with root canals can last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why have a root canal procedure?

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A root canal procedure is the best way to save a tooth that has been damaged by decay or injury and preserve your natural smile. The alternative is an extraction and treatment to replace the tooth. While at times a tooth is non-restorable and an extraction is the only option, when possible, it’s best to try and save your natural tooth. With proper care, a tooth with root canal therapy care can serve your smile well for many years to come.

Is a root canal procedure painful?

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Despite lingering myths from before the age of modern dental anesthesia and technology, having a root canal procedure today is as routine and comfortable as visiting the dentist for a filling. While the procedure is performed under local anesthesia with your tooth completely numbed, we can also discuss options in dental sedation.

Do I need to have a root canal procedure if I'm not in pain?

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Whether the symptoms of a dental infection subside after a course of antibiotics, a draining abscess provides you with some temporary pain relief, or a tooth with radiographic evidence of pathology has not yet developed symptoms, it’s essential, before an infection worsens or occurs, to have a root canal procedure performed. In this way, the tooth can be disinfected, filled, and sealed to protect your health and avoid further problems.

Do you offer emergency appointments?

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If you have sustained a dental injury, have a toothache, jaw pain, swelling, or are experiencing any other unusual and uncomfortable oral symptoms, contact our office immediately for care. Dental problems that have not been evaluated and treated can significantly worsen, producing more severe damage and consequences for the involved teeth, your oral health, and even your overall wellbeing. Once you get in touch with our office, our friendly and compassionate office team will get you in for care at your earliest convenience.

How long does a root canal procedure take?

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While some root canal procedures can be completed in one visit, others may involve 2 or 3 appointments. How long it takes depends on various factors, including active infection, the number of canals in the tooth, and the tooth’s location or anatomy.

How successful is root canal therapy?

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With a success rate that exceeds 95%, root canal therapy remains the most effective procedure to save a tooth in which the inner vital tissues have been damaged. However, as with all healthcare procedures, there are a small percentage of cases where the teeth become symptomatic a second time. The good news is that many of these teeth can still be saved with root canal retreatment or a minor surgical procedure known as an apicoectomy.

What's the best way to take care of my tooth root canal therapy?

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The best ways to maintain a tooth with root canal therapy are to get the proper restoration required to rebuild and protect the tooth, maintain proper oral hygiene, and schedule appointments for routine dental checkups and care.

How much does root canal therapy cost, and does dental insurance cover it?

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Saving a tooth with root canal therapy is a wise investment that, in the long run, is typically less costly and invasive than having the tooth extracted and replaced with a fixed bridge or implant. As far as the exact cost of care, it can vary depending on which tooth is being treated. Many dental insurance plans provide coverage for root canal therapy. At the office of Michael I. Feinberg, DDS, we do our best to optimize your dental benefits and minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Our staff will answer all your questions about the cost of care.

Why choose the office of Michael I. Feinberg, DDS?

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At the office of Michael I. Feinberg, DDS, we use the latest technology and most effective methods of care to provide precise and gentle care. Our reputation for excellence is based upon a consistent record of achieving successful treatment outcomes while providing prompt, stress-free, and convenient treatment for endodontic cases.