If you have a cracked tooth, infected tooth, or severe tooth pain, you may need a root canal. While you may fear the pain of a root canal, the procedure itself is actually no more painful than having a filling placed. Dr. Leonard Hess, your local dentist in Monroe NC, offers expert-level care and comfortable dental treatments for patients of all ages in Union County and beyond. Dr. Hess provides Root Canal therapy as a general dentistry service in his Monroe, North Carolina office.
What is a root canal?
The term ‘root canal’ actually refers to the natural cavity at the center of the tooth. The tooth’s nerve is located inside the root canal, surrounded by soft tissue called the pulp. If the tooth is damaged or has decay, bacteria and debris can enter the root canal area and cause an infection.
More generally, the term ‘root canal’ is used to refer to the procedure which removes infected tissue and restores the tooth to healthy function.
Root Canal Symptoms
While you may not experience any root canal symptoms, many people often experience the following symptoms which can indicate the need for a root canal procedure:
- Toothache which may worsen when pressure is applied
- Persistent tooth sensitivity
- Tooth discoloration
- Sore gums surrounding the tooth
About the Root Canal Procedure
The goal of a root canal procedure is to preserve as much of your natural tooth as possible. Dr. Hess will first numb the area to prevent discomfort. Once numb, he will remove all infected tissue from the inside of the tooth. He will then fill the tooth with a special material to prevent further infection. In some cases, an antibiotic will be needed to cure the infection.
Once the infection is clear and the root canal is free of debris, Dr. Hess will fill the tooth with a biocompatible rubber compound called gutta percha. Finally, your dentist will use either a dental filling or a porcelain dental crown to cover the tooth. This will add both strength and long-term protection against future damage.
Root Canal Procedure FAQs
Does a root canal hurt?
The root canal procedure will feel no different than having a dental filling placed. You may experience mild discomfort or soreness. Dr. Hess will use a local anesthetic to ease pain during the procedure and can prescribe medication to help with any pain after root canal therapy.
What are the alternatives to root canal treatment?
A tooth extraction is an alternative to root canal treatment. Once the pulp is destroyed, it can not regenerate, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. Whenever possible, Dr. Hess recommends preserving as many natural teeth as possible for the best health of the smile.
How much does a root canal cost?
Dr. Hess will discuss root canal costs prior to beginning treatment. The cost of the procedure will be based on your specific circumstances, considering the extent of damage and what is needed to restore the tooth; a dental crown or just a dental filling. As a courtesy, we will submit to your dental insurance for reimbursement.
When can I eat after getting a root canal?
Before eating, wait for the local anesthetic to wear off. You won’t be able to feel parts of your mouth, and you don’t want to accidentally bite down on your tongue or something else. For the first couple of days, stick to soft foods that don’t really require a lot of chewing. Avoid chewing on the side that you had your root canal on as much as possible.
Do I need to take off work for a root canal?
We recommend taking off the entire day of the procedure. You’ll have a local anesthetic and possibly sedation that you’re under the influence of. Take the day so that these can wear off and you can rest up. However, you should be able to return to work or school the next day.
Do I need a root canal?
Root canals are necessary for teeth that have infected pulp in the center of them. If you get a deep cavity or have a cracked tooth, bacteria can get into the center of your tooth and cause an infection. Warning signs include a toothache, swelling and tenderness around a certain tooth, sensitivity to hot and cold, and more pain when you’re touching the tooth. You may also notice tooth discoloration.