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If you are experiencing tooth pain or have an infected tooth nerve, you may need root canal treatment. Root canals are a common dental procedure used to treat infected or inflamed pulp, the soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. At URBN Dental, we understand that the idea of a root canal treatment can be daunting, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help answer some of your questions and provide you with more information about the procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure that removes the infected or inflamed pulp from inside your tooth. The affected tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a material called gutta-percha. This treatment is used to save a natural tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.
Why Might You Need a Root Canal?
A root canal is necessary when the pulp inside a tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, including deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, cracks or chips in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth. Symptoms of an infected pulp may include severe pain, tooth swelling, and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal treatment usually involves one or two appointments, depending on the severity of the infection. The procedure begins with the administration of local anesthesia to numb the infected tooth and gums. A small protective sheet called a dental dam is placed over the tooth to isolate it and prevent contamination from saliva.
The dentist then creates an access hole in the tooth to reach the pulp chamber. The affected pulp is removed using specialized instruments, and the canal is cleaned and shaped to prepare it for filling. Once the canal is cleaned and disinfected, it is filled with gutta-percha and sealed with a sealer paste and adhesive cement. The access hole is then filled with a temporary filling until a permanent filling or crown can be placed.
Is a Root Canal Treatment Painful?
While the thought of a root canal treatment can be intimidating, most patients report only mild discomfort during the procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the infected tooth and surrounding gums, so you should not feel any pain during the procedure. After the procedure, you may experience some soreness, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. If you are experiencing severe pain after a root canal, you should contact your dentist immediately.
What Are the Benefits of a Root Canal Treatment?
A root canal procedure can save a damaged tooth, prevent adjacent teeth from shifting, and restore chewing function. By removing the infected tissue, a root canal can also prevent reinfection and bone loss. The procedure is typically less expensive than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a removable denture or dental implant.
Is a Root Canal Safe?
Root canal procedures are safe and effective when performed by a qualified dental professional. The American Dental Association and the American Association of Endodontists recommend root canal therapy as a safe and effective way to treat infected or inflamed pulp.
Are There Any Alternatives to a Root Canal Treatment?
If you have an infected or inflamed tooth, an endodontic treatment is typically the only alternative to having the tooth extracted. Prescription medications can provide temporary relief from pain and inflammation, but they will not eliminate the infection or save the affected tooth.
What Can You Expect After an Endodontic Treatment?
After an endodontic treatment, you may experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity for a few days. You should avoid chewing on the affected tooth until a permanent filling or crown can be placed. You should also practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing regularly, to prevent further infection and decay.
It is important to attend all follow-up appointments with your dentist to ensure that the treated tooth is healing properly. Your dentist may take an x-ray to confirm that the infection has been completely removed and that the filling has been properly placed.
In some cases, a tooth may require root canal retreatment if the initial procedure was not successful or if new infection occurs. This involves removing the existing filling and cleaning the canal again before refilling it. Your dentist will advise you on the best treatment options for your specific case.
What Is the Cost of an Endodontic Treatment?
The cost of root canal treatments can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the location of the affected tooth, and other factors. In general, root canal treatments are less expensive than having a tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant or removable partial denture.
Most dental insurance plans cover a portion of the cost of a root canal procedure, but you should check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage. At URBN Dental, we offer a range of payment options and financing plans to make root canal therapy more affordable for our patients.
How Can You Prevent the Need for a Root Canal Therapy?
The best way to prevent the need for a root canal therapy is to practice good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks and using a mouthguard during sports can also help protect your teeth from trauma.
If you do experience tooth pain or sensitivity, it is important to see your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause and prevent the infection from spreading.
Choosing the Right Dentist for Your Root Canal Procedure
If you need a root canal procedure, it is important to choose a qualified and experienced dentist to perform the procedure. General dentists can perform root canal therapy, but endodontic specialists have additional training and expertise in this area.
At URBN Dental, our experienced dentists use the latest techniques and technology to perform root canal procedures safely and effectively. We understand that the thought of a root canal can be intimidating, so we take the time to explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
Visit Us for Root Canal Treatment
If you are experiencing tooth pain or have an infected tooth nerve, contact us at URBN Dental to schedule a consultation. We have three convenient locations in Uptown Houston, Midtown Houston, and Montrose, and offer a range of dental services to help you maintain a healthy and natural smile.