I have a toothache. What does it mean?
Did you know…
About 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or misconceptions.
How it works: The root canal treatment process
Exam & X-Rays
Local Anesthesia & Sedation Options
Removing Decay & Infected Pulp
Filling The Root Canals
Sealing Or Capping The Tooth
Types of root canal therapies
Anterior Root Canals
Posterior Root Canals
Did you know…
Root canals are a simple, common procedure with about 25 million root canals being performed every year.
Have questions about root canal treatment? Find answers here.
What causes a root canal?
You will need root canal therapy if your tooth becomes infected. This happens one of two ways:
- A serious cavity can eat away at the outer layers of your enamel and dentin. Eventually, this decay will expose the vulnerable pulp (the material that keeps your tooth alive) to bacteria that causes the infection.
- Dental trauma can crack the enamel and dentin, exposing the nerve and blood vessel-filled pulp to oral bacteria.
Regardless of how the infection occurs, the pulp will begin to decay and die once it becomes infected. When this happens, you’ll experience symptoms like a toothache, gum inflammation near the tooth, and tooth sensitivity.
Does root canal treatment hurt?
No. It’s a common myth that root canal therapy hurts when, in fact, it is the toothache caused by the infection that is painful. In modern dentistry, there’s no need for pain. Root canal therapy is similar to receiving a dental filling.
Your mouth will be completely numb during the procedure, and you can even be sedated at our office, if you wish. Getting a root canal is the best way to rid yourself of the pain and discomfort of an infected tooth, which can be very severe.
Can root canal treatment fail and what happens if it does?
In rare cases, root canal treatment can fail. If not all of the decayed material and bacteria are removed, the tooth infection may come back. If this happens, you’ll come back to our office for endodontic retreatment. Your dentist will re-open your tooth and repeat the root canal process, and ensure that the infection is completely removed.
Do I always need a crown with a root canal?
Not always. Crowns are usually the best way to protect your tooth after root canal therapy, and are recommended for posterior teeth (molars and premolars). However, fillings are sometimes used to fill front teeth. Your dentist will let you know if you need a crown or a filling after your root canal appointment.
Is root canal therapy covered by insurance?
Root canal therapy is usually covered by the vast majority of dental insurance policies to some degree. However, we do recommend that you consult with your insurance provider so that you understand your benefits and which treatments are covered.
Alternatives to Root Canal
Did you know…
Getting root canal therapy can save you from more invasive procedures, like a tooth extraction.