What is a root canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures, with more than 14 million performed each year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.
At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp may be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of an infection are visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment, or a root canal, to eliminate the diseased pulp. The injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. Your endodontist will use local anesthesia to ensure a pain-free and comfortable procedure. A root canal may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required.
What happens after treatment?
Following root canal therapy, you will be able to drive home and return to your normal work and exercise routine after a few hours. We often recommend you take over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, while you are still numb from the anesthesia to prevent soreness from developing.
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your referring dentist. We are happy to send the report to you via email as well. You should contact your dentist office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of your treatment.
It is rare for patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment. If a problem does occur, we are available 24/7. To prevent further decay, it’s important that you continue to practice good dental hygiene.
Do root canals affect overall health?
The relationship of our teeth and mouth to overall good health is indisputable. Endodontics plays a critical role in maintaining good oral health by eliminating infection and pain and preserving our natural teeth. The American Association of Endodontists website is the best place for you to find comprehensive information on the safety and efficacy of endodontics and root canal treatment.
Scientific research continues to support the safety of dental treatment as it relates to overall health. In 2007, the American Heart Association (AHA) updated its guidelines on the prevention of infective endocarditis, drastically curbing the indications for premedication for dental procedures and excluding endodontic treatment from dental procedures requiring premedication. In April 2012, the AHA found no scientific evidence linking periodontal disease and heart disease, concluding that heart disease and periodontal disease often coincidentally occur in the same person due to common risk factors of smoking, age and diabetes mellitus.