The words “root canal” cause even the bravest to shudder. We want to help you understand what exactly happens so you aren’t so worried. Success for root canals is in the 90% range, so root canals are a great treatment option to save a tooth that otherwise may need to be extracted.
Why would a tooth need a root canal? Except in circumstances of elective root canals (we won’t get into that), the reason for root canals is usually because the nerve inside the tooth is terminally ill or dead. Extreme sensitivity that lasts more than 15 seconds to hot, cold, and/or bite pressure are symptoms that the nerve in the tooth and bone surrounding the tooth are diseased.
Dr. Frost will perform certain tests and determine what is happening with the specific tooth that is bothering you. Once a diagnosis is reached, Dr. Frost will provide you with treatment options for that specific tooth. Most patients say after a root canal is done, it wasn’t nearly as bad as they heard.
You will be numbed so that the procedure is painless. Dr. Frost, or a specialist, will open the tooth and find the nerve that was causing so much discomfort. Through a series of very small instruments, the nerve is gently and carefully removed from the inside of the tooth. A special filling material is then placed in the tooth that has been proven over many years to be safe and reliable. Once the filling material that’s used in the root has been placed where the nerve once was, a white composite filling will be placed to seal the root canal. It is usually advisable that you wait to have a crown put on the tooth for a couple of weeks to allow any tenderness to subside. Crowns keep root canaled teeth from breaking over time and are a standard preventive procedure. There are times that a root canal may take 2-3 appointments depending on the level of infection but it is usually completed in one appointment. If you had a tooth that was really bothering you and then it stopped hurting all of a sudden, that doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. That could mean that the nerve of the tooth died. That makes it so the tooth isn’t as sensitive but the infection may still be present in the bone surrounding the tooth. This can be very dangerous to delay and could lead to hospitalization.