Root Canal Therapy

Nothing is as good as a natural tooth! And sometimes your natural tooth may need a root canal (endodontic) treatment for it to remain a healthy part of your mouth. Village Family dental offers endodontics in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Most patients report that having a root canal treatment today is as unremarkable as having a cavity filled.

Frequently Asked Questions:

(Adapted from the American Association of Endodontist’s website (www.aae.org).

Who performs root canal therapy?

All dentists, including general dentists, receive fundamental training in endodontic treatments. Some very complex root canal procedures are sometimes referred to an endodontist specializing in root canal therapy.

Why would I need a root canal?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain and can lead to an abscess.

What are the warning signs?

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes, as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

How does root canal therapy save the tooth?

The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside the root, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. If at anytime during the procedure you feel sensitivity, you simply advise the doctor of this and proper measures will be taken to keep you comfortable.

For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal therapy is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your dentist.

How much will the procedure cost?

The cost varies depending on how complex the problem is and which tooth is affected. Molars are more difficult to treat, the fee is usually more. Most dental insurance policies provide some coverage for this treatment.

Generally, root canal therapy and restoration of the natural tooth are less expensive than the alternative of having the tooth extracted. An extracted tooth must be replaced with a bridge or implant to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These procedures tend to cost more than endodontic treatment and appropriate restoration. With root canal treatment you save your natural teeth and money.

Our practice offers a variety of financing options to meet your dental needs, please ask any staff member to explain them to you.

Will the tooth need any special care or additional treatment after root canal therapy?

You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist. The unrestored tooth is susceptible to fracture, so you should see your dentist for a full restoration as soon as possible. Otherwise, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular checkups and cleanings. In most cases it is advisable to place a core restoration and a crown on the endodontically treated tooth to help prevent the risk of fracture.

Most endodontically treated teeth last as long as other natural teeth. In a few cases, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. Occasionally, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, redoing the endodontic procedure can save the tooth.

What causes an endodontically treated tooth to need additional treatment?

New trauma, deep decay, or a loose, cracked or broken filling can cause new infection in your tooth. In some cases, the endodontist may discover additional very narrow or curved canals that could not be treated during the initial procedure.

Can all teeth be treated this way?

Most teeth can be treated. Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored. However, advances in dental technology are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth.

To learn more, visit Village Family Dental office or call the Dentist in Myrtle Beach at 843-215-2599 for inquiries about our other dental services.