Although our goal is always early diagnosis and detection, sometimes decay or dental emergencies can lead to root canal therapy. If a tooth becomes severely damaged by decay or injury, the inside part of your tooth (the pulp) may become highly inflamed or even infected. A root canal procedure removes the damaged pulp to allow your dental team to save your tooth. At Lee Dental Centers, our endodontist uses the latest technology and conservative treatments to ensure optimal treatment outcomes. Additionally, our microscope allows enhanced visibility of the very intricate internal part of your tooth. Advances in dentistry have made the procedure almost painless, so there is no need to fear the term “root canal.”
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Specialty Dentist Providing Service: Dr. Liang
Root Canal FAQ
What should I expect after a root canal?
A recently treated tooth will generally experience mild to minimal soreness for up to seven days, which can be readily managed by over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil. However, if the tooth is in severe pain and/or heavily infected before the initiation of root canal therapy, the chance of experiencing more severe post-op sensitivity is higher. For most extreme cases (less than 4 percent of all root canal treatments), infection flare-up could happen. Rest assured these situations will most often be anticipated, and prescription pain medication, anti-inflammatory agents (steroids) and/or antibiotics will be prescribed at the end of the appointment to minimize post-op discomfort.
What exactly is a root canal?
The purpose of root canal treatment is to save a severely diseased natural tooth, which otherwise would have to be extracted. When the soft tissue inside of a tooth (dental pulp/dental nerve) gets diseased due to deep decay or dental injury, a root canal procedure is required to remove the inflamed or infected pulp tissue, eradicate the source of infection and pain, and to save and restore the hard structure of your tooth to full functionality. Typically, a root canal is a two-step procedure involving “cleaning” of the root canal systems and “filling” them. While most root canals can be completed in one visit, more complex cases or highly infected teeth may require two visits or more.
Why do most root canal-treated teeth also need crowns?
Most teeth requiring Root Canal Treatment (RCT) are already severely decayed or cracked. During a root canal procedure, the softened and diseased hard tissue is removed and eventually replaced with a man-made filling material. However, over time, the filling material and/or the already weakened tooth might fracture and render the tooth non-restorable. A full-coverage crown is needed to cover and protect the tooth and prevent cracking or fracture. Root canal-treated teeth can also darken or discolor over time. While this is normal, a beautiful porcelain crown can enhance the appearance of your tooth.
Why might my tooth need a root canal retreatment?
Root canal treatments, when performed properly, have a long-term success rate greater than 95 percent. Yet, like any medical procedure, the success rate is not 100 percent. Many factors may contribute to persistent infection even after a tooth is root canal treated, including a missed small canal that still harbors bacteria or a cracked/leaking filling that results in re-infection of the canals from outside. Most of the time, the factors contributing to the failure can be identified by an experienced dentist or endodontist during a consultation appointment. If issues are readily correctable, a retreatment is needed to eradicate the pain and infection while still saving the tooth.