Root Canal Therapy in Lake Worth, FL
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is an endodontic procedure where the soft tissue (nerve and blood supply) is completely removed from the inside of the tooth. It is usually needed due to bacteria entering the nerve space from a large cavity (decay) or a broken tooth. If most of the top of the tooth is broken down, it can be needed to provide space for a special post that is used to help retain a crown (cap).
Does it Hurt?
Most of the time, root canal therapy is not painful. The advances in anesthetics and techniques have allowed dentists to provide this procedure with little to no discomfort. I usually say “It’s like doing a regular filling, just on the inside of your tooth, and takes a little bit longer”. The only time root canals can be slightly uncomfortable is when the tooth is “hot” (very painful to the touch) and the root canal is performed at that time. It is much better to catch problems and treat them before they become painful.
Why Do I Need a Crown after the Root Canal?
On back teeth, and sometimes front teeth, crowns (caps) are needed to cover the chewing surface after a root canal. This is because some of the core tooth structure is removed during the cleaning process and the tooth will likely fracture without this protection. It also serves to seal the tooth off and prevent further bacterial infiltration.
Will This Last Forever?
Even though a tooth is treated with a root canal and crown, it is still susceptible to decay, wear, breaking, etc. So having this procedure doesn’t mean you can stop brushing it. In fact, it requires extra care to prevent future decay and to protect your investment in saving your teeth. Since there is no nerve in the tooth, you will likely not have pain in the event of decay and so regular dental check-ups are essential to make sure the tooth remains in good condition. Root canal therapy is very successful, on average around 90-95 percent. This means that after 5-10 years, there is a 90-95 percent chance if taken care of, that the tooth will still be in good, functional condition.
Will My Insurance Cover It?
All insurances have different coverage. Palms Dental Care is very good at dealing with insurance and always checks benefits and coverage for each patient prior to a procedure being completed. Most insurances cover at least a portion of the root canal procedure.
How is the Process Completed?
A local anesthetic is given around the tooth/teeth to be treated. A sufficient amount of time is allowed for the area to become numb. A small hole/entrance is made through the chewing surface of the tooth into the hollow chamber present on the inside of the tooth. Then, all channels are found and measured with an electronic measuring device known as an apex locator. The tooth is cleaned out step by step to the tip of each root canal. Several small x-rays will be taken along the way to check progress visually. Once completely cleaned out and dried, a filling material called gutta percha is used to fill all the spaces inside the tooth, up to the neck of the tooth. A temporary filling is then placed on top this until a final restoration can be completed.
When is a Specialist Required?
A specialist, known as an endodontist, is required when the root canal is very difficult. These specialists went to school for an additional two years to be able to treat difficult teeth. Your dentist at Palms Dental Care will be able to tell you if your tooth looks like a “routine” canal system, or if it would be better treated by a specialist. We will show you the x-ray and explain why if this is needed.
Call Palms Dental Care with any questions related to root canal therapy!