Endodontics is the dental specialty that deals with the nerves of the teeth. Root canals are probably the most notorious procedure in dentistry and the most common procedure relating to endodontics. When a tooth becomes infected it is usually related to the nerves in the root of the tooth. The infected nerves need to be removed. This procedure is called root canal therapy.
Most root canal procedures will be performed in our Nashua dental office. For complex cases, Drs. Levesque and Vogel may refer you to a local endodontist. We will handle the restorative aspect of your procedure which involves placing a crown on the affected tooth.
If the infection is left untreated, it can turn into an abscess and lead to serious health risks including tooth loss or bone loss.
Root Canal Symptoms
In many cases, you might not experience any symptoms associated with a root canal problem, but if you experience any of these signs below, you should contact your dentist:
- Dull ache or pain in the tooth or jaw
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Constant pain and/or soreness or swelling of the gums
- Sharp pain when biting or chewing
What to Expect
The area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic to start the procedure. The dentist will then drill down into the tooth to create an opening into the canal. They will then be able to remove infected tissue and clean the canal. After the infection has been removed, the space if filled with a sealant called gutta percha.
It is highly recommended that a tooth that has undergone a root canal is fitted with a crown. This will improve the appearance of the tooth, and will also make it much more likely that the root canal is successful.
Comfortable, Same Day Treatment
In many cases, we are able to perform complete root canal treatment in a single visit. With our in-office CEREC technology, our dentists can design, fabricate and place a porcelain dental crown on the same visit as your root canal treatment. This means fewer visits – saving you both time and money.
Local anesthetics and proper pain medication allow the procedure to be performed with little to no pain in most cases. There may be some soreness following the procedure, but that is normal for most dental procedures. Over the counter painkillers are usually enough to relieve any pain afterwards, but your dentist may prescribe medication. The procedure will also relieve you from pain caused by the infection allowing you to enjoy all the foods you love without any pain from heat, cold, or biting too hard.
Root Canal FAQs
What is a root canal?
The term root canal references the interior portion of the tooth, where the pulp and nerves are located. This sensitive area can become inflamed or infected by tooth decay or damage to the tooth. Tooth pain is usually the first sign that there is a problem in the root canal, though a dentist can spot inflammation or infection during routine examinations.
Does it hurt?
People often describe tooth pain as unbearable and an infected root canal certainly can cause significant pain. Most of the pain associated with a root canal comes from the inflammation or infection in the tooth. The root canal procedure itself is not painful. We offer a variety of sedation dentistry options to keep you as comfortable as possible.
What happens if I don’t have a root canal?
The only alternative to a root canal is a tooth extraction. In most cases, our dentists will support saving the natural tooth vs. having the tooth pulled. A root canal is the more conservative and less expensive treatment option. An extracted tooth should always be replaced to prevent neighboring teeth from shifting and to reduce the risk of bone loss, tooth decay and gum disease.
How much does a root canal procedure cost?
Several factors go into determining the price of the root canal procedure including:
- amount of damage to the tooth
- location of the affected tooth
- type of restoration needed (ex. dental filling, dental crown, etc)
Some dental insurance providers will pay for all or part of the cost of root canal therapy. Our office staff will assist you with all billing and documentation for your insurance company to help maximize your benefits.