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.
What is a root canal?
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:
- Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
- Discoloration/darkening of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring bump on the gums
- Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold temperatures (even after the hot or cold source has been removed)
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.
Are there alternatives to a root canal?
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 a dental abscess, which can cause serious health problems.
If you have an abscessed tooth, extraction of the tooth is the only alternative to a root canal.
How long does a root canal take?
It depends on the complexity of your case. For example, a tooth with one root (like an incisor) will usually take less time to treat than a tooth with multiple roots (like a molar).
In addition, some teeth have more complex canals than others, which means it may take longer to prepare the canal space.
Sometimes the root canals are easily identifiable and straight; others may be curved or even calcified. If the canals are easy to find, a root canal treatment may only take about 30 minutes. However, if the canals are difficult to identify, it could take longer to treat the entire tooth. Your Endodontist can tell you what to expect.
On average, root canal procedures take about 60 minutes to perform.
Recovery Following a Root Canal
Following root canal treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the tooth was treated. If your endodontist prescribes antibiotics, take them as directed.
Root Canal Specialists in Flint, MI
If your dentist refers you for a root canal in Flint, contact Lindemann Root Canal Specialists today.
Our practice focuses on root canal therapy, dental trauma treatment, and other endodontic procedures such as apical surgeries. We use the latest root canal technology in our state-of-the-art facility to provide quality root canal therapy. Lindemann Root Canal Specialists in Flint is conveniently located near Burton, Grand Blanc, Fenton, and Owosso. To schedule a consultation, call 810-732-7900.