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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 …

woman holding jaw in pain

When to See an Endodontist

People know endodontists as root canal specialists, but the field of endodontics is a specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of dental pain and saving natural teeth. Your local endodontist has in-depth training, advanced techniques, and state-of-the-art technologies to provide exceptional care in a variety of circumstances. Here are some situations in which you should choose to see an endodontist for your care. When you experience sharp or throbbing tooth pain, it could be caused by tooth decay or a loose filling, or it may involve a crack or damage to the pulp tissue, in which case your dentist may refer you to an endodontist. Many causes of tooth pain are difficult to diagnose without the advanced equipment used by endodontists—even small cracks in a tooth can cause either constant throbbing pain or sharp pain when biting and chewing. It’s not unusual to experience occasional tooth sensitivity. Some reasons for intermittent sensitivity include gum recession, minor tooth decay, or a loose dental filling. If, on the other hand, you experience severe sensitivity to hot or cold foods that lasts more than 30 seconds, it is a sign that the pulp has been damaged by physical trauma or deep decay. An endodontist can provide relief by performing root canal treatment. While many dentists provide root canal treatments, endodontists have a higher level of expertise. The average general dentist may do two root canals a week, while endodontists perform 25 or more. This experience gives us the knowledge needed to …

older man getting examined by dentist

How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Take?

There’s an age-old stigma associated with root canal treatment that suggests it is a long and painful experience, but with advancements in endodontic technology, a root canal is no more uncomfortable than any other dental procedure. Below, we dispel some of the myths surrounding root canal treatment and answer common patient questions. Every patient is different, so the answer to this question depends on your unique circumstances. In most cases, one 60 to 90 minute treatment appointment is required to complete the root canal. In rare cases, the procedure may be split up into two separate appointments. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you can expect during your root canal procedure: For most patients, the pain of not getting a root canal when one is needed is far worse than the root canal itself. Despite the jokes people make comparing unpleasant experiences to root canals, our patients usually leave our office feeling better than when they came in. Endodontists are experts in relieving tooth pain; once the damaged or infected tissue is removed, you’ll feel better. That said, you may experience some discomfort once the local anesthetic wears off. This is normal and can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication. For a few days, you may notice sensitivity, so we recommend that you avoid chewing directly on the treated tooth until this resolves. After three to seven days, that sensitivity is usually gone. Why go to a root canal specialist for your procedure? Because a specialist has the necessary experience, …

dentist reviewing xrays

How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?

This is not an easy question to answer. There is no set dollar amount that applies to root canal procedures across providers. Many different factors affect the cost of root canals and other dental care services.
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Root Canal for Kids: Baby Tooth Root Canals

When people think of root canals, they generally think of adults or seniors with bad teeth. However, it is entirely possible for kids to need root canals too. Even though their baby teeth will fall out eventually, there is still a chance of needing a root canal before then. It is possible to avoid this problem with proper care if you know what you are doing. Here is a look at baby tooth root canals.
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Can You Have Root Canal Treatment When You're Pregnant?

Can You Have Root Canal Treatment When You’re Pregnant?

Many people dread root canals, but they are an important treatment option for fixing painful, damage, or broken teeth. It is a fairly common procedure that is easy to schedule, complete, and recover from. However, there are specific steps that need to be taken. When you are pregnant and need a root canal, it can be difficult to decide if you should do it or not. Here is a look at what it is like to have a root canal treatment when you are pregnant.
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