Just the term ‘root canal’ often scares people and inflicts images of painful dental procedures. In reality, a root canal is a conservative approach to saving a tooth and is no more painful than having a dental filling placed. With a 95% success rate, a root canal is a smart option to saving a tooth. Our dentists perform root canal therapy in our Fox Lake dental office under local anesthesia.
A root canal is necessary when the tooth’s nerve suffers from decay or damage. People associate the pain they experience with the root canal procedure. However, it is from the infection in the tooth’s nerve, not the actual procedure.
Root Canal Procedure at Fox Lake, IL
Dr. Thomas Prendergast will work with his patients to make sure their comfortable during the treatment. He will explain thoroughly he steps involved to educate the patient and answer any questions they may have. We believe that patient education can help relax patients and allow them to feel more confident in their oral health decisions.
The root canal process is a relatively simple procedure and begins the same way a tooth filling does. There isn’t any greater discomfort either. Dr. Prendergast will need to take diagnostic x-rays to evaluate the tooth and root canal, looking for signs of infection in surrounding areas. He will then administer an anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.
Once the patient is comfortable and numb, Dr. Prendergast will drill a small hole into the tooth to access the infected tissue and remove the damaged nerve and any debris inside the tooth. Removing the infected pulp will relieve any pressure caused by the infected tooth.
The next step is to clean the tooth. Then your dentist will fill it with an inert, biocompatible material. This will stabilize the structure of the tooth and prevent further decay.
While root canals have a painful reputation, most patients actually experience pain caused by the infection, not the root canal procedure. Many patients even enjoy pain relief after the dentist removes the infection, and cleans and seals the tooth.
Root Canal Symptoms
Some patients experience no symptoms whatsoever, but common symptoms include:
- Severe toothache
- Pain when chewing or biting
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
- Tooth discoloration
- Sore gums
Benefits of a Root Canal
If you neglect to have the root canal procedure, the nerve of the tooth will eventually be destroyed. While you may still opt to extract the tooth, it is best to keep as many natural teeth as you can, and a root canal makes that possible.
After Root Canal Therapy
To strengthen a tooth after root canal therapy, we often recommend the placement of a dental crown to help support the structure of your tooth. Custom fit and color matched to your natural teeth, a dental crown fits around the tooth like a cap and will support the long-term health of your tooth.
Root Canal FAQs
Is root canal treatment painful?
Root canal treatment can be painful, but their reputation makes them out to be much worse than they are. Oftentimes, the infections that occur before a root canal treatment are much more painful than the procedure. While your root canal treatment may be painful for the first couple of days after the procedure, ultimately, it relieves preexisting pain from the infection.
Why do patients need a root canal?
There are a variety of reasons that patients may be recommended to have root canal treatment performed. Deep infections that are impacting nerves are one of the most common reasons for needing a root canal. Broken or cracked teeth, or extreme cavities may also lead to the need for root canal treatment.
What happens in a root canal procedure?
During a root canal procedure, dentists will begin by numbing the tooth and the area surrounding that the tooth is in. Then the dentist will make a small hole in the top of the tooth so that the infected and diseased tissue can be removed through the opening. After this the canal is filled and sealed over.
Do you need a dental crown after a root canal?
We will oftentimes recommend a dental crown for patients after root canal treatment. Dental crowns are caps that fully cover and protect teeth and are color-matched to the shade of natural tooth enamel. Placing crowns on the molars and premolars following a root canal will improve the bite. We will also recommend a dental crown if patients have damaged teeth before their root canal or their teeth have weakened after removing the dental infection.
How long does a root canal take?
On average, a root canal takes anywhere between 1-2 hours. It can be completed from start to finish in one dental visit, but sometimes a second appointment is needed to finish the procedure. The amount of time and visits it takes is dependent on the severity, size, and placement of the diseased area.
Can I drive home after a root canal?
If we have just numbed the mouth for a root canal procedure, patients can drive themselves from their appointments. They will not feel any treatment effects that impede their motor skills. However, we may use dental sedation for some patients during a root canal procedure, which means they can still feel the effects of sedation following their procedure. We will ask patients who receive dental sedation to receive transport to and from the dental office.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
If you are experiencing root canal symptoms, make an appointment with one of the dentists at Infinity Dental of Fox Lake to determine the best form of treatment.