A root canal is also known as endodontic therapy or therapy within the tooth. It is one of the most common dental procedures performed with over 14 million procedures done annually throughout the dental community. It is a very simple treatment that can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges. At the center of your tooth is the pulp. The pulp is a collection of fine blood vessels, cells and a nerve. This system is originally used to help the tooth develop. Later it nourishes the tooth and helps provide information on temperature, pressure and pain. Damage to this very delicate system can be caused by infection, decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures and can be identified sometimes by pain, swelling, temperature or pressure sensitivity. Sometimes the only way to detect a problem is by x-ray where damage can be seen by the disappearance of canal space or bone loss.
If you experience any symptoms, endodontic therapy will be recommended. The injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This 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. 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. During treatment, we 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.
When your root canal therapy has been completed, restorative treatment to the tooth will be recommended. Usually this involves a post and core to replace tooth structure lost from decay and the endodontic therapy. This is followed by a crown that will cover and protect the remaining tooth structure from fracture. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as; the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontics treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, which produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to the insurance company via e-mail. For more information contact www.Dexray.com.