A root canal is an amazing procedure that can take an infected tooth, one that might otherwise be considered lost, and make it functional again—it can last for decades after a root canal. Although root canals have a bad reputation for being painful procedures, modern root canals are not as painful as they are made out to be, and, in fact, they typically result in a reduction of pain because they cure the infected tooth.
If you know or suspect that you might need a root canal in Rochester, NY, please call
Do You Need a Root Canal?
There are many potential symptoms you should look out for to determine whether you might need a root canal or not:
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste
- A pimple-like sore on your gums that may burst and ooze
- Swelling, redness, or bleeding around a certain tooth
- Sensitivity to heat or cold that lingers for more than a few seconds
- Extreme dental pain that keeps you from sleeping or is felt in distant parts of the body
It’s important to note that everyone’s experience of pain is different. Some people report excruciating pain related to an infected tooth, but other people report minor pain. Never avoid seeing a dentist just because you don’t think your pain is severe enough.
How It Works
A root canal is used to cure an infected tooth. Tooth infection normally occurs when a cavity penetrates through the outer layers of your tooth and reaches the inner chamber of the tooth, where the living part of the tooth, called either the pulp or nerve, is located. Safe from brushing and the antibacterial effects of saliva, bacteria can grow rapidly, exploiting your tooth pulp, which likely is experiencing significant pain.
In a root canal procedure, we open up your tooth so we can access the pulp chamber. Then we will remove the pulp. We want to remove all the tooth pulp, even the healthy parts—we want to make sure the tooth can’t get infected again.
Then we will fill the tooth with a combination of materials that is sterile, resists infection, and mimics the properties of the pulp. Depending on how much decay had damaged the tooth, we may add reinforcements such as a metal post.
To protect the tooth, a dental crown is placed on top. This restores strength and beauty as well as helping to keep infection out of the treated tooth.
Root Canal or Dental Implant?
As we said above, a root canal is used on a tooth that might otherwise be lost. We have to decide whether it’s best to treat the tooth with a root canal or if it’s best to extract it and replace it with a dental implant.
Both procedures have a very high success rate—well over 90%–and both can give results that last for decades, if not a lifetime.
Normally, we will make the decision based on the individual state of the tooth, but in general it’s best to attempt a root canal first. A root canal preserves your natural tooth, which is slightly better than a dental implant. It also preserves the option of getting a dental implant later, whereas if we extract and replace with an implant, we can’t go back and try the root canal.