Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

Welcome to our blog series, where we’ll discuss everything you need to know about root canals and dental crowns. We’ll cover why people need them, what the procedures involve, and much more. 

We understand these procedures are often associated with pain and anxiety, but we want to assure you that they are safe procedures that preserve the health of your teeth

With some understanding and the right dental team, your root canal and dental crown experience can be relatively pain-free and lead to a healthier, brighter smile!

In the first post in our series, we’ll answer some of the most common questions regarding root canals. Whether you’re facing the possibility of endodontic treatment, in recovery from the procedure, or just curious about what it entails, you’ll find answers here!

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal procedure is an endodontic treatment to remove infected or damaged pulp inside a tooth. 

Dental pulp is a soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that helps to nourish the tooth during its development. However, once fully developed, the tooth can survive without the pulp.

During a root canal procedure, the dentist will clean out the infected pulp and seal the tooth to prevent further infection. A dental crown is often placed over the tooth to provide added strength and protection.

Why Do People Need Root Canals?

There are a few reasons why people may need root canal therapy. The most common reason is decay or infection in the tooth that has reached the pulp, causing pain and discomfort. 

Other reasons could include a previous injury, multiple dental procedures on the same tooth, or a cracked or broken tooth.

If left untreated, an infected or damaged pulp can lead to severe pain, abscesses, and tooth loss

A root canal procedure helps to save the tooth by removing the infection and preventing any further damage or spread of infection.

Step-by-Step Root Canal Procedure

The root canal procedure is typically done in several steps over multiple appointments, but it can also be completed in a single visit based on the patient’s condition. Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

  • Step 1: Your dentist will examine the affected tooth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the infection.
  • Step 2: If necessary, your dentist will administer local anesthesia. If you feel uneasy about needles, you can discuss alternatives like nitrous oxide for sedation. After the area is numb, the dentist will place a dental dam, a protective sheet, over the tooth to keep it dry and isolated from the rest of the oral cavity.
  • Step 3: A small opening is made at the top of the tooth to access the dental pulp, which is removed. The canals are shaped into a form that can be sealed.
  • Step 4: To prevent further infection, the space is thoroughly cleaned with antiseptic solutions and then filled with a biocompatible material called Gutta-Percha. Often, a temporary filling is also applied to close any remaining gaps.
  • Step 5: After the procedure, your dentist will decide on the best plan for restoring your tooth with a permanent crown or filling to protect it from further decay and re-infection.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

The most common symptoms that might indicate the need for a root canal include:

  • Severe tooth pain
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Swelling of the gums
  • A recurring pimple on the gums
  • A tooth that has changed to a grayish or blackish color

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist right away. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital for saving an infected or decaying tooth.

If you’re not sure if you need a root canal, read our blog: Dental Quiz: Do I Need a Root Canal?

Is a Root Canal Painful?

Root canals are not as painful as people believe. With modern techniques and anesthesia, the procedure is now relatively painless

The main goal of a root canal is to relieve pain, not cause it.

Although some discomfort or sensitivity may occur after the procedure, most patients report much less than expected. The long-term benefits of saving your natural tooth far outweigh any short-term discomfort.

If you experience dental anxiety, it’s important to speak openly with your dentist or endodontist about your concerns. There are options to help you relax and feel more at ease during your procedure.

Check out some relaxation techniques in our blog: The Ultimate Guide: How To Relax Before a Root Canal.

Morris Dental Solutions – Your Trusted Dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL

At Morris Dental Solutions, our patients come first. We are committed to providing our patients with a comfortable and stress-free root canal experience. 

We use the latest dental technology and techniques to ensure our procedures are as painless as possible. 

Our experienced endodontist, Dr. Rosenbaum, has years of experience performing root canals and is dedicated to providing exceptional care to our patients.

If you are searching for a ‘dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL, or a ‘root canal near me, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (847) 215-1511 or schedule an appointment online. We’re here to help improve your oral health and give you the beautiful smile you deserve!

Stay tuned for the next blog in our series: When Is a Dental Crown Needed After Root Canal Treatment?

Root Canal FAQ

What kind of anesthesia is used for a root canal?

The most common type of anesthesia used for a root canal is local anesthesia. Anesthesia is administered by injection near the site of the tooth to be treated. In some cases, patients may also receive oral sedation or nitrous oxide if they are particularly anxious about the procedure.

What is a failed root canal?

A failed root canal can occur if the infected tissue is not removed from the tooth, the sealant does not entirely close the tooth, or the tooth becomes re-infected.

What is the recovery time for a root canal?

Recovery from a root canal usually takes a few days up to a week. You may experience minor discomfort or inflammation, but over-the-counter pain medication can typically manage these symptoms. 

Is a root canal covered by insurance?

Most dental insurance plans provide some coverage for endodontic treatment, such as a root canal. Speak with your insurance provider or dentist’s office before the procedure to understand the extent of your coverage and any out-of-pocket costs you may incur.

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