What is a root canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. When a tooth is damaged due to decay or trauma, the nerve of the tooth can sometimes become inflamed and infected. If this occurs, a root canal procedure may be recommended to save your natural tooth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels that help to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, Dr. Coffey will most likely recommend root canal therapy to eliminate the diseased pulp.
How is a root canal performed?
A root canal involves making a small opening in the tooth and completely removing the nerve and infected tissue. The canals of the roots are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using tiny instruments and then sealed with special materials to help support the canal walls and prevent re-infection. Because removing the tooth nerve also eliminates blood flow to the tooth, a tooth that has had a root canal loses vitality and requires extra protection and support form a post and crown. If root canal therapy is necessary, Dr. Coffey will usually perform the root canal in his office. In some cases, he may refer you to an Endodontist (root canal specialist) who will perform the root canal in coordination with Dr. Coffey, who will design a custom-fitted crown for the tooth. This procedure usually involves local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. In addition, we offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or if a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, Dr. Coffey will decide what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. He will design a custom-fitted crown for the tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.
How much will it cost?
The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.
If you would like to schedule a FREE consultation for root canals (x-rays not included) with Encinitas Dentist, Edward B. Coffey, DDS MS – Encinitas Dental Art, please call us at (760) 942-7272. Hablamos Español.