How Long Does A Root Canal Take?

If you’ve been told you need a root canal, you probably have questions about the treatment. What is a root canal? How long does a root canal take? Are there other options? Can the endodontist save the tooth? Endodontists are dentists who specialize in saving teeth by treating the inside of a tooth. They perform root canal procedures to treat damaged or infected pulp, treat cracked or broken teeth, and perform procedures after accidents that injure teeth. The term “root canal” comes from cleaning the canals inside a tooth’s root. Root canals and associated procedures remove the inflamed or infected pulp. Root canal treatment, or endodontic treatment, can save a tooth that may otherwise have to be extracted. Root canal treatment is needed when the inner, soft layer of the tooth, known as the pulp, becomes infected through decay or injury. The symptoms of a diseased pulp include: The pulp consists of nerves and blood vessels that help the tooth grow during development. Once fully mature, the tooth can survive without the pulp because it continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. A root canal procedure involves removing the diseased pulp and then cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth so that infection does not reoccur. Root canals have gotten a bad rap, but they’re not nearly as bad as people think. Modern root canal therapy is a relatively painless procedure that can save a tooth from being extracted. It’s also the only procedure that can eliminate …

What Do You Do When A Permanent Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

Sports injuries, falls, bicycle accidents, and car accidents can all lead to facial trauma, including knocking out a tooth.  If you’ve suffered from a knocked-out tooth, try not to panic, but do act quickly. Read on for the American Association of Endodontists’ recommended step-by-step guide of what to do if a permanent tooth is knocked out. Do the best you can to locate the tooth, if possible. If you’ve sustained other, serious injuries, this may not be possible. But if your tooth has been knocked out due to an injury such as a fall, or during a sporting activity, it’s best to try to find the tooth. If you’ve had a permanent tooth knocked out, an endodontist may be able to successfully replant the tooth. They will guide the tooth back into position and use splints to stabilize the tooth. This can allow your gum tissue to reach the tooth root and begin reattaching. After several weeks, you will likely need a root canal to clean out any infection or decay and then seal the tooth. You may then need to have a permanent crown fabricated by your general dentist.  All endodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are endodontists. An endodontist is a dentist who has received post-dental school education and specialized training, to care for the interior of the tooth (pulp). Endodontists are highly specialized practitioners who treat tooth pain, tooth abscesses, tooth injuries, and cracked teeth. They perform intricate procedures such as root canals, emergency dental surgery, …

How Do You Know if You Need a Root Canal?

Years ago, just the words “root canal” were enough to strike fear in patients. However, today the procedure is nearly pain-free. Thanks to advances in technology and modern root canal techniques, the procedure can be completed in less than an hour, allowing you to return to normal activities the same day.  If your dentist has told you that you need a root canal, here’s an overview of what to expect. A root canal is also known as endodontic treatment. Root canals are performed to prevent the extraction of teeth that are severely decayed, damaged, or infected. During a root canal, once the entire area surrounding the tooth is numbed, your endodontist will access the pulp (interior) of your tooth. The pulp of each tooth hosts nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. Your endodontist will remove this pulp, and clean out any infection in the canals of the tooth.  The canals are then sealed with a safe, biocompatible material. After your root canal is completed, you’ll ultimately return to your general dentist to receive a crown, permanent filling, or have your current crown restored. It is important to note that once you have fully-developed adult teeth, you technically no longer need the pulp of your tooth. Root canals allow for the removal of the infected pulp so you can keep your tooth. The only way to know for certain that you need a root canal is by seeing a dentist or endodontist who can diagnose the problem. If your general dentist …

smiling male patient in dental chair

How Painful Is a Root Canal?

Patients frequently express anxiety before they are scheduled for a root canal procedure, but the majority find that root canal therapy is much more comfortable than they anticipated. Because root canals are frequently performed to alleviate dental pain, our patients usually leave our office feeling better than when they arrived. If you’re not sure what to expect from a root canal treatment, read on to learn more. Root canal therapy is used to treat inflamed or infected pulp tissue, which may cause severe dental pain, swelling, difficulty eating, and a range of other symptoms. Endodontic treatment is used to relieve this discomfort. With the use of local anesthesia and modern endodontic equipment and techniques, many patients find that having a root canal treatment is no more painful than having a cavity filled. It’s common to feel pressure and movement during a root canal, but the majority of patients are comfortable throughout their appointment.  Endodontic treatment begins by numbing your tooth and its surrounding tissues using a local anesthetic. The tooth is then opened so that we may access the pulp and remove it. To prevent infection and seal the tooth, the chamber and roots are cleaned, shaped, and disinfected before being filled with a specialized rubber-like material. You’ll go to your general dentist within two weeks of your root canal treatment to have a dental crown or filling placed to restore the tooth structure. Patients frequently report feeling immediate relief after root canal treatment, particularly if they had been experiencing …

older man getting examined by dentist

How to Find the Best Endodontist Near You

Choosing to see an endodontist for a root canal treatment is an excellent decision for your dental health. Endodontists are the only dental specialty that focuses on treating dental pain, root canal therapy, traumatic injury, and other conditions that affect the inside of the tooth, so you can be assured exceptional care. Here’s how to find the best endodontist near you. Endodontists must meet the highest standards and pass rigorous examinations demonstrating their expertise in their field. Some endodontists take an additional examination in order to become board-certified by the American Board of Endodontics. Dr. Matthew Lindemann is a board-certified endodontist, an honor that signifies that he has reached the highest level of education in this speciality. Only the most distinguished endodontists in the United States receive the honor of being named a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. As with any other profession, memberships in professional organizations allow endodontists to stay current with state-of-the-art technologies, new research, and cutting-edge techniques in their field. These memberships demonstrate that an endodontist is committed to furthering their knowledge by pursuing opportunities for continuing education.  Dr. Matthew Lindemann is proud to be an active member of the Michigan Dental Association, the Michigan Association of Endodontists, and the American Association of Endodontists. He is also a member of the distinguished American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. He is the past president of the Michigan Association of Endodontists and is currently an active board member of the …

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How Long Does a Root Canal Last?

If you’ve never had a root canal treatment before, it’s likely that you have a number of questions about what to expect after the procedure. While the recovery from a root canal is nowhere near as lengthy as that of a tooth extraction, it may take some time before you feel “back to normal” again. Below, we address some of the most common questions patients have about what to expect after a root canal treatment. During your root canal treatment, your tooth and the area surrounding it will be numbed with local anesthetic, which can take several hours to wear off. Avoid eating foods that need to be chewed and hot beverages until the numbness has worn off. It’s best to wait until the local anesthetic has worn off before eating, but if you are thirsty or hungry, you should wait at least 30 to 40 minutes after your treatment to ensure that the temporary filling has hardened. It is best to try to avoid chewing on the tooth with the root canal and to chew on the opposite side of your mouth until your final restoration has been placed by your dentist. You should also avoid hard or sticky foods, as these have the potential to dislodge the temporary restoration. Yes, most people go back to work following their root canal treatment, although note that your lips, teeth, cheek, and/or tongue may be numb for several hours afterward. If you have a job that involves a lot of speaking …

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What to Expect After a Root Canal

If you’ve never had a root canal treatment before, it’s likely that you have a number of questions about what to expect after the procedure. While the recovery from a root canal is nowhere near as lengthy as that of a tooth extraction, it may take some time before you feel “back to normal” again. Below, we address some of the most common questions patients have about what to expect after a root canal treatment. During your root canal treatment, your tooth and the area surrounding it will be numbed with local anesthetic, which can take several hours to wear off. Avoid eating foods that need to be chewed and hot beverages until the numbness has worn off. It’s best to wait until the local anesthetic has worn off before eating, but if you are thirsty or hungry, you should wait at least 30 to 40 minutes after your treatment to ensure that the temporary filling has hardened. It is best to try to avoid chewing on the tooth with the root canal and to chew on the opposite side of your mouth until your final restoration has been placed by your dentist. You should also avoid hard or sticky foods, as these have the potential to dislodge the temporary restoration. Yes, most people go back to work following their root canal treatment, although note that your lips, teeth, cheek, and/or tongue may be numb for several hours afterward. If you have a job that involves a lot of speaking …

woman getting a dental exam

What Exactly Does an Endodontist Do?

You may not have heard the term “endodontist” before being referred to our office by your general dentist. While most people are familiar with what orthodontists and oral surgeons do, endodontics is a lesser-known specialty within the field of dentistry. According to the American Association of Endodontists, fewer than three percent of dentists are endodontists. Here’s what endodontists do and how we can help restore your oral health. General dentists provide a wide range of treatments, but their primary focus is the visible portion of the tooth. In contrast, endodontists specialize in diagnosing and treating problems inside the tooth. After completing dental school, we receive two to three more years of education and training focusing on the dental pulp, root canals, and dental pain. We’re known in the field of dentistry as the specialists in saving teeth. Root canal procedures and other endodontic treatments allow us to save many teeth that have deep decay, extensive damage after dental trauma, or are otherwise compromised. Without such treatments, extraction would be needed. Saving your natural tooth is the ideal outcome. Sometimes when you have a severe toothache, the cause is obvious. Other times, your general dentist may not be able to find the origin of your dental pain and refer you to an endodontist for a diagnosis.  If your tooth pain is caused by a microscopic fracture or crack, it may not be apparent upon visual examination. An endodontic practice has state-of-the-art technology and surgical microscopes that allow us to identify the …

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What to Eat After a Root Canal

While you may be focused on the root canal procedure itself, it’s important to take some steps in the days before your procedure to plan for aftercare. Having everything you need ready at home will make your recovery easier. One of the ways you can prepare is by stocking your pantry and refrigerator with soft foods that require little chewing to reduce stress on your treated tooth. Recovery from a root canal is not anything like recovery from a tooth extraction or other oral surgery. You can return to work or school immediately after your procedure and there’s no need for a prolonged period of rest. That said, your tooth may be sensitive for a few days and you’ll need to avoid chewing with the treated tooth until your final restoration is placed. You can eat 30 to 45 minutes after a root canal, which is enough time to allow your temporary filling to fully harden, but it’s generally recommended that patients wait to eat until after the anesthetic has worn off to prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue. Be sure to brush and floss regularly to keep the area free of food debris and plaque. As long as you avoid chewing or biting down with your treated tooth, you should be able to eat soft foods without any issues. This list of soft foods will help you put together well-rounded meals that won’t irritate your tooth: Proteins Fats Fruits and Vegetables Grains After your root canal, there …

smiling older woman in dental exam chair

What Happens If You Don’t Get a Root Canal?

If you’ve been told that you need a root canal, it’s important not to delay your treatment. Opting not to get a root canal doesn’t mean your dental issue will go away—instead, you can expect that your situation will only get more complicated as time goes on and, ultimately, require more extensive treatment. At the center of every tooth, under the enamel and dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. This pulp is rich in blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues and it extends to the roots of the teeth. Sometimes, a deep cavity will reach the tooth’s pulp, causing it to become infected. Other times, the pulp becomes inflamed after a fracture or dental injury. Common signs that you might need a root canal include: Whether infected or inflamed, a root canal is needed to remove the pulp and restore health to your tooth. When the pulp in your tooth is compromised, it’s not an issue that will eventually resolve on its own. If your root canal is needed because the pulp is infected, it’s possible for the infection to spread to other parts of your body, which can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Inflamed pulp tissue may become infected if it’s exposed after a tooth fracture. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more likely it is that bone loss will occur in the jaw; at this point, a root canal may no longer be a possibility and your tooth could need to be extracted. This …