Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy Information

The Basics:

Root Canal Therapy is a procedure performed to save your tooth from needing to be pulled. The inside of the tooth is cleaned thoroughly and is sealed with a biocompatible filling material to protect against future infection.

The Details:

The innermost layer of your tooth is made up of nerve fibers and blood vessels. This tissue is referred to as the “pulp” or the “root canal system” of the tooth. The pulp may become inflamed or infected due to a deep cavity, a leaking filling/crown, a traumatic dental injury, or the development of a crack in the tooth. When this tissue becomes severely inflamed or infected, Root Canal Therapy is usually recommended as the treatment of choice.

During Root Canal Therapy, you should not feel any discomfort. Endodontists are experts at anesthetizing (numbing) teeth—particularly those causing a patient extreme pain. At our office, the vast majority of patients experience no discomfort during their Root Canal Therapy.

After the tooth is numbed, the pulp tissue is removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. At the end of the procedure, the root canal system is sealed with biocompatible materials that help to prevent your tooth from becoming re-infected in the future.

After treatment is completed, it is usually recommended that you return to your dentist to have a crown (cap) placed on the tooth. A permanent crown helps to protect your tooth against fracture. Postponing this important follow-up treatment could lead to crack formation and could result in the tooth needing to be removed.

Root Canal Therapy can often be completed in one visit. Depending on the condition of the tooth, however, Root Canal Therapy may be completed over more than one visit and could involve a medication being placed inside the tooth to help eliminate infection.

The Good News:

Root Canal Therapy treats the infected/inflamed pulp and allows you to keep and continue using your natural tooth. The procedure is very common (nearly 15 million performed per year) and is usually less costly than having the tooth removed and replaced with a bridge or implant.

Helpful Root Canal Therapy Videos from the American Association of Endodontists

Root Canal Treatment Step-By-Step

Need a root canal? Don’t be anxious. This informative video will walk you step-by-step through the procedure and explain how endodontists, the root canal specialists, can save your teeth.

Root Canal Safety

If you are concerned about the safety of root canal treatment, this short video explains how millions of root canal treatments are completed safely, effectively, and comfortably every year.

Today’s Root Canal

Endodontic treatment has advanced considerably over the past few decades. Watch this video to learn how endodontists, the specialists in saving teeth, use advanced technology and expert training to provide their patients with the highest level of care.

Miami's Endodontic Specialists

Miami's Endodontic Specialists

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Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canal Therapy

Will I feel pain during my root canal treatment?

Endodontists are specialists in anesthetizing (numbing) teeth—especially those causing a patient extreme pain. We do not move forward with treatment until we are sure you have been completely anesthetized. At our office, the vast majority of patients experience no discomfort during their Root Canal Therapy.

Will I feel pain after my root canal treatment?

While many patients experience no discomfort following their procedure, in most cases patients experience slight soreness for 1-2 days following treatment. This discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications. A small percentage of patients experience pain or swelling following their procedure. This is known as a flare-up. Patients who experience anything more than slight discomfort are asked to contact the office so that their symptoms can be addressed promptly.

My tooth doesn’t hurt anymore. Why do I need a crown after root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment can definitely help to eliminate tooth pain. It cannot, however, protect the structural integrity of your tooth. In many cases, we will recommend that your tooth receive a crown. This restoration helps to protect your tooth and protect against fracture. If the tooth does not receive a crown, it is often at a higher risk of fracturing and needing to be removed. Depending on how the tooth fractures, it may not be salvageable and may need to be removed.

Does a root canal treatment kill my tooth?

Root canal therapy removes the pulp of the tooth—mainly nerves and blood vessels. After treatment, although the inside of the tooth has been cleaned and sealed, the tooth continues to function as it had previously. You can bite and chew on your tooth, just as before. Far from being dead, the tooth maintains its living connection to the surrounding bone and gums.

What happens if I choose not to have a root canal?

If root canal therapy is advised for a tooth and no treatment is pursued, infection can spread from the tooth to the surrounding tissues. Spreading infections can lead to pain and visible swellings either inside or outside of the mouth. In the most severe cases, a spreading infection can put a patient’s life at risk.

What are the alternatives to root canal treatment?

There are many alternatives to root canal treatment. The most basic alternative is the removal of the offending tooth, which results in a space being left behind. If the tooth is not replaced with another restoration (implant, bridge, removable denture), you will be unable to chew in the area and could also see your remaining teeth shift into the space that was left behind. Whenever possible, we recommend holding on to your natural teeth. Nothing looks, feels or functions like your natural teeth.

How many visits will my root canal treatment take?

Many root canal treatments can be performed in one visit. However, a second visit may be necessary if the tooth is found to be infected or if the tooth presents with challenging anatomy. The decision to extend treatment over a second visit is made to ensure you have the best possible outcome for your treatment.

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