Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy salvages the natural tooth rather than replacing it with a dental implant so that you eliminate pain and restore your oral health.
Relieving Pain & Restoring Your Smile
Having healthy teeth is about more than just keeping your smile looking good. More importantly, it’s about helping you keep your mouth functional for the rest of your life. Decaying teeth are extremely difficult to eat with and makes simple acts like chewing painful. Furthermore, extensive decay can result in tooth loss and even infections that put your general health at risk as well. This is all caused by dental plaque.
When plaque and bacteria are n’t removed via brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings, it can easily begin damaging the enamel that protects the inner layers of teeth. Over time, this decay can become quite extensive, causing the need for restorative treatments like dental fillings and crowns. If neither option is viable or bacteria has reached the inner tooth and caused an infection, the dentist will perform root canal therapy in Weymouth, MA to remove the bacteria, diseased tissue, stop pain and seal out decay once and for all.
What To Expect During a Root Canal
Root canal therapy takes about an hour to complete and consists of four main steps: anesthetic, surgery, filling, and restoration placement.
In the first step, your dentist administers anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue, allowing for a more comfortable treatment overall. They’ll also place a dental dam to keep the tooth dry during surgery as well as prevent bacteria from entering.
Then, using a series of dental tools, they’ll access the inside of the tooth through the crown so they can begin cleaning and sanitizing the canal itself. After removing all diseased and decayed pulp, they’ll shape the canal and irrigate it wash to away remaining tissue. They may also apply a microbial solution to prevent future infections from developing.
Next, they’ll fill the canal with a rubber-like material known as gutta percha, followed by closing the canal with a temporary crown. All root canals require a permanent crown to prevent bacteria from entering.
Finally, once the crown is fabricated after a few weeks, you’ll come back to have your temporary crown replaced. Your tooth is now fully restored and functional once again!
Caring For Your Tooth After a Root Canal
Any discomfort felt after root canal therapy is typically mild and will disappear after a few days. To mitigate this discomfort, simply take over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen. It’s also a good idea to adopt to a softer diet for the first couple days after root canal therapy. This is because the tooth needs time to heal. If you experience tenderness, avoid chewing on that side of your mouth until discomfort begins to disappear.
If you experience any of the following, schedule a follow-up appointment with your dentist right away:
- Severe pain or pressure for more than a few days
- An uneven bite (possibly due to swelling)
- Visible swelling in or outside your mouth
- A loose crown or filling where the root canal occurred
- Symptoms felt prior to root canal therapy
Root Canal FAQs
Many patients will have a lot of questions when they’re told they need to undergo root canal therapy. At Columbian Square Dental we want you to have all of the information you need to make informed decisions. Below are the answers to some common questions we’ve received. You can also contact us if you have additional questions.
Does Insurance Cover Root Canal Therapy?
Most plans will at least partially cover the cost of restorative procedures like root canals. That said, your benefits will vary depending on your provider. Some plans will only cover 50% of the cost while others might pay for as much as 90% after the deductible is met. Needless to say, this can make a big difference to your bank account!
We accept insurance from a wide range of carriers, and we’ll work with you to make sure you’re maximizing your benefits so that you can save as much money as possible.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
This is perhaps the biggest misconception about root canals. While they do have a reputation of being especially painful, the truth is that with the use of a local anesthetic, they’re actually comparable to other dental procedures. Many patients have found that getting a root canal is no more painful than getting a cavity filled.
You might experience some discomfort after the procedure. it will usually be mild, and in most cases, you can control it with over-the-counter pain medicine. If the pain and swelling don’t decrease over time, call us as soon as possible.
How Can I Be Sure That a Root Canal is My Best Option?
When the pulp of the tooth has been infected, your options will most likely be to save the tooth with root canal therapy or have it extracted altogether. While an extraction might sound easier, a missing tooth can cause all sorts of problems ranging from issues of functionality (hindered ability to speak and chew) to health complications (deteriorating jawbone, misaligned teeth). You can replace an extracted tooth with an implant or another restoration, but that will require additional procedures and costs. Overall, root canal therapy will more often than not be the most effective and most viable option for protecting your health.
How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Last?
Depending on whether retreatment is necessary, root canal therapy can be completed in one to two visits with each appointment lasting about an hour (up to 90 minutes in some cases). This includes time for preparatory steps like administering anesthesia.
How Long Will It Take for Me to Recover?
Any swelling or discomfort after the procedure should recede after a few days; if this is not the case, you should call our dental office as soon as possible. Once we’ve confirmed that the treatment is complete, we can put a crown on the tooth to protect the weakened structure from further damage.