About Root Canal Therapy
When a tooth becomes infected it has usually begun deep in the root, or pulp of the tooth. In these situations the infected nerves need to be treated. Board-certified Dentist, Dr. Todd McCracken, and the dental team here at Laser Smile Studio in Denton, TX refers to this treatment as root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is an extremely common dental procedure during which the tooth's infected pulp is extracted and replaced with a dental compound. If the infected tooth is left untreated, it can become abscessed and could result in the loss of the tooth. Dr. McCracken can perform root canal therapy quickly and efficiently with the use of our advanced technology while causing very little soreness afterward. If you believe root canal treatment could provide the pain relief you're looking for, contact our front office staff today to set up a consultation.
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What to Expect
A root canal is usually performed with local anesthesia to numb the teeth and gums. Heavier sedation can be added upon the request of the patient. During the procedure, Dr. Todd McCracken, will remove the pulp from the infected tooth/teeth and replace it with filling material. It is strongly recommended that a dental crown is applied to the tooth as well, to aid in the longevity of the therapy. Some patients are at higher risk of developing an infection (usually patients with heart problems like congenital defects and artificial heart valves), so Dr. McCracken may prescribe a round of antibiotics before and after the root canal treatment.
If only local sedation is used, you will be able to drive yourself and recover at home, but some sedation options may require you to have a responsible adult pick you up. Patients may have temporary numbness or minor discomfort, which can usually be treated with an over-the-counter painkiller. If a temporary crown was placed over the tooth, the permanent crown will be placed and fitted at a separate appointment. After a root canal, oral care including brushing, flossing, and routine visits to Laser Smile Studio are important to maintaining the health of the treated tooth/teeth.
In some cases, a patient may need continued dental work after an initial root canal. While this is rare, Dr. McCracken is experienced in treating these types of cases. There are two post-treatment options that Dr. McCracken may suggest:
With proper care, most teeth that have had endodontic (root canal) treatment can last as long as other natural teeth. Root canals performed by endodontists (root canal specialists) have a 95% success rate. In some cases, however, a tooth that has received endodontic treatment fails to heal. Occasionally, the tooth becomes painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. As occasionally happens with any dental or medical procedure, a tooth may not heal as expected after initial treatment for a variety of reasons:
- Narrow or curved canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
- Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure.
- The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
- The restoration did not prevent salivary contamination to the inside of the tooth.
- In other cases, a new problem can jeopardize a tooth that was successfully treated.
An apicoectomy is performed after an unsuccessful root canal. When an infection will not go away or returns after a root canal has been performed this procedure is usually necessary. There are many nerves that may contain the infected tissue, so it is difficult to ensure that all of the infection is removed during a root canal. During an apicoectomy, the tip of the root of the tooth is removed and replaced with a filling.
In most cases, a second root canal is considered before an apicoectomy since it is a simpler, less invasive procedure. Before the apicoectomy begins you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. The doctor will start by making an incision in your gum to expose the root of your tooth. Any inflamed tissue will be removed to clean out the area. The surgery takes place in a very small area, and only a few millimeters are removed from the root. For this reason, the doctor will use magnification and small precision instruments to perform the surgery. The precise nature of the surgery gives it a high rate of success. After the root is removed a filling is placed and the gums are sutured. Depending on the type of sutures you may have to return in a few days to have them removed, or dissolving sutures may be used instead. Over the course of the next few months, the bone will heal around the root.
A root canal procedure is usually covered in part by dental insurance, but it may not cover additional expenses for emergency care. Our office accepts many forms of payment and we can help patients with financing plans, if needed.
Plan Your Procedure
To relieve your pain and prevent more serious dental problems, don't avoid talking to Dr. Todd McCracken about a root canal. With modern dental equipment, techniques, and sedation options, fixing an infected tooth doesn't have to be painful or time consuming.