2915 Grant Street
Wichita Falls, TX 76308
3325 Premier Drive
Plano, TX, 75023
7700 Cat Hollow Drive #108
Round Rock , TX, 78681
Houston Image Plus Dental Lab
3300 S Gessner Ste 118
Houston, TX, 77063
Dr. William Ryan, D.D.S. DMD PC
1139 Keller Parkway
Keller , TX, 76248
Q. Why would I need a root canal?
A. When the nerve of a tooth becomes irreversibly damaged -- due to decay, trauma, or a crack in the tooth -- you'll need root canal treatment.
Q. How can the dentist tell if I need a root canal?
A. Often nerve damage causes tooth pain, swelling and sensitivity to hot or cold. You may also notice that the tooth is becoming darker in color. Sometimes, it can only be diagnosed with an X-ray or other tests.
Q. What happens during a root canal?
A. During root canal treatment, the dentist cleans out the infected pulp tissue within the roots. After all the nerve has been removed, the canals are filled with a sealer.
Q. How long will it take?
A. Usually, root canal therapy takes one or two appointments for a front tooth (anterior), and two or three appointments for a back tooth (posterior). A tooth can have from one to four roots and all the roots must be treated.
Q. After the root canal is finished, will the tooth need more work?
A. The tooth is more brittle after a root canal and requires a permanent restoration. This could range from a simple tooth filling to a large build-up with posts and pins. If the tooth filling is large, the tooth may also need a dental crown to protect the tooth from breaking.
Q. Why not just take out the tooth?
A. It's usually healthier and less expensive to save the tooth with root canal treatment. Replacing an extracted tooth involves either expensive bridgework or a partial denture. If the tooth is extracted and not replaced, adjoining teeth can move into the empty space, creating even more problems.
Q. Will root canal treatment be painful?
A. Your tooth will be numb during the treatment. If your tooth was aching or sensitive prior to treatment, it may take a few days for the tooth to get back to feeling normal. You can take a mild painkiller during that time. If it's necessary, something stronger will be prescribed. If the tooth had been badly infected, you may need to take an antibiotic.
Q. How much will it a Root Canal cost?
A. The cost of root canal treatment usually depends on the number of canals which are infected and need treatment. There will be a separate charge for the restoration, which will vary from the cost of a simple filling to a crown. All expected treatment charges will be discussed with you before treatment.
Many people flinch when their dentists tell them they need root canal therapy. While dentists are sympathetic to fears of pain, they also want patients to know that root canal procedure has three purposes:
Root canals are actually channels that run from the root of the tooth, which connects to the bone, up to the top surface of the tooth. The canal contains blood vessels, nerves and the complex cells that make up the living tissue inside the tooth. This lifeline inside the tooth is called the pulp.
When a tooth is decayed or cracked, bacteria can get to the pulp. The acid from the bacteria irritates the pulp and it becomes inflamed; it's the same process you watch when other parts of your body become infected. When the pulp tissue becomes inflamed, it's harder for blood to flow to the tissue, and the resulting pressure creates the pain symptoms inside your tooth.
There are two ways to get relief from root canal pain: perform the root canal procedure, or pull the tooth, clean the gum below, and replace the tooth with a denture or bridge. Dentists advise pulling teeth as a last resort because they know that your natural teeth are the ones best suited for your mouth.
It's important to have the root canal procedure done quickly. The bacteria will travel down the canal to the root and into the jawbone. If this happens, the pain of your toothache will spread to your jaw. Even more important, the infection can cause your jawbone to deteriorate and weaken the structure that holds your teeth.
The best way to avoid root canal therapy is to take good daily care of your teeth to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria. Brushing and flossing are important.
Just as important are regular trips to the dentist, to check for the first sign of decay or cracks that could eventually lead to an abscessed tooth. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO