Root canals have developed a nasty reputation but you can rest easy if you think one may be in your future. In the hands of a skilled and experienced endodontist (root canal specialist), root canal procedures might be lengthier than some procedures, but they are no more uncomfortable than getting a cavity filled. Moreover, any minor discomfort you may experience is nothing compared to the pain caused by the severe toothaches which often precede them, or which can strike if treatment is delayed too long. Medical Center Dental Care includes on its team one of the California’s leading endodontists, so patients can rest assured that the procedure will do what it’s supposed to do -- save a tooth and end dental discomfort – while keeping the patient as comfortable as possible at all times.
What is a root canal, exactly?
When a tooth has become seriously compromised – usually by an infection but also if the tooth has become cracked – a root canal is the traditional alternative to extracting the tooth entirely. In this treatment, the doctor removes infected or damaged tissue soft nerve tissue along with the damaged portion of the tooth. This portion of the procedure is called a pulpectomy.
Next, the area is thoroughly cleaned out, and a temporary crown is placed over the remaining tooth structure. Once healing is complete, a permanent crown is added which allows patients to eat all of the same foods they ate previously. Crowns are cared for just like regular teeth – through brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits.
That sounds pretty involved, are you sure it isn’t very painful?
Once upon a time, dental procedures like root canals and dental fillings that impact the nerves of a tooth were inevitably very painful. With the development of modern anesthesia in the 20th century, however, that began to change. Today’s oral health practitioners have become extremely sophisticated at minimizing discomfort during procedures and keeping patients relaxed. Before a root canal begins at Medical Center Dental Care, the area is thoroughly numbed and we constantly monitor the patient to ensure that the procedure is as comfortable as possible.
Why not just remove the tooth entirely and put in a bridge?
There’s more to any tooth than meets the eye. When a tooth is lost, it’s not just something that can hamper your ability to eat and harm your appearance, it can also lead to bone loss in the jaw. This, in turn can lead to loose teeth and other serious dental issues later on. Right now, the only way to address bone loss after a tooth has been extracted is via a dental implant. These are very effective replacements, but also labor intensive and far from inexpensive. It’s definitely best to keep the healthy remaining portion of your tooth.
What are the advantages of using an endodontist?
While any licensed dentist is allowed to perform a standard root canal, endodontists are specialists who spend an extra two years of study looking at the inner working of teeth. They are generally considered a must for root canals in molars and for dealing with problems arising after an initial root canal. For more standard root canals, many patients prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing their procedure is being performed by a genuine expert in the procedure. It’s also worth noting that dentists often turn to our Medical Center Dental Care endodontist when they need a root canal.
When do I need a root canal?
If you are dealing with the intense pain of a toothache, it’s likely that your tooth is infected to the point where a root canal will be necessary. Long-lasting sensitivity to cold or heat, or teeth that have changed color can also be a warning sign. Regardless, the first and most important step is to see a skilled and experienced dental professional to diagnose the problem and recommend a plan of action.
I might need a root canal or some other dental treatment. What now?
The first thing to do is to contact an experienced dentists or endodontist. If you live in the San Fernando Valley/Greater Los Angeles area, contacting Medical Center Dental Care to see about an appointment is an excellent way to get started to getting rid of dental pain and preserving your overall oral health. To get started, call us today at the phone number above. You can also reach out to us via our contact page.