Downtown Dental Excellence offers Root Canal Therapy in Cleveland, TX

Root canal therapy (also known as a “root canal”) is a dental procedure that involves treating the pulp of a tooth that is infected. A pulp—which is made up of living connective tissue—can get infected when a tooth is cracked, or a cavity has gotten so bad that the infection has spread to the pulp.

Root canal therapy is a very common procedure, and is absolutely necessary to save a tooth once the infection has spread to the pulp. If the tooth is not treated soon enough, the tooth will likely need to be extracted.

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Dental film of tooth

Do I Need Root Canal Therapy?

In order to understand if you need root canal therapy, it’s important to understand the different symptoms of the pulp of a tooth being infected.

Whether it is a good thing or bad thing, it will be very obvious that there is something wrong once the pulp of your tooth becomes infected. This is because you’ll likely be in a lot of pain!

Some of the symptoms of an infected root pulp include:

  • Pain while trying to chew food.
  • Changes in the shade or color of a tooth.
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold foods (such as ice cream).
  • A severe toothache.
  • Swelling of the gums.
  • Pain when you apply pressure to the tooth.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should set an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

It’s also important to know just why root canal therapy needs to be done. Some of these reasons include:

  • Trauma to the Tooth
  • Fracture of the Tooth
  • Tooth Decay
  • Dead Tooth Nerve
  • Infection

Don’t allow the issue to persist longer than it needs to. Take care of your infected tooth as soon as you can.

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Pulpotomy is the term that is generally used for root canal therapy for children.

Keep in mind that your child’s primary teeth are softer than your teeth, and are more susceptible to decay. Because of this, they are more likely to get a tooth infection. Pulpotomies are very similar to root canals for adults. Your dentist will decide if pulpotomy is necessary for your child by inspecting their tooth for decay and infection.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

While having an infection in the pulp of a tooth is very painful, the actual procedure to remove the infection is actually relatively painless. Don’t allow fear of root canal therapy to prevent you from getting the proper care that your tooth needs. If you don’t get a root canal, you risk the tooth being damaged to the point where it can no longer be repaired. Once this has occurred, the only option will be extraction.

The Process

The first step of root canal therapy is visiting your dentist for an exam. There, your dentist will take a look at the tooth, and see what the issue is. If it’s just minor decay, you may only need a cavity filled. If the pulp is infected, though, your dentist will decide on whether the tooth is able to be saved or not.

Once they make the decision to go ahead with root canal therapy, they will start the treatment by removing any injured pulp. They will then disinfect the root canal system. Once the inside of the tooth is clean, a filling will be used to seal the tooth and prevent any further infection. If the tooth has a significant amount of decay, your dentist may decide to place a dental crown to ensure the strength of the tooth.

During the procedure, your dentist may use local anesthesia or nitrous oxide analgesia to relieve and prevent any discomfort.

While a root canal may be completed within one visit, it may take more than one visit depending on the amount and type of treatment that is required.

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There is no special form of aftercare that is necessary after root canal therapy. It is important, though, for you to contact your dentist if there are any complications after the procedure. If you notice any pain, swelling or pressure that lasts for a few days, this may be due to a possible infection. Contact your dentist to set an appointment if this is the case.

Avoiding Root Canals

Root canal therapy can generally be avoided with proper oral care. By brushing your teeth, flossing and rinsing out your mouth at least twice a day, you can prevent infections and tooth decay. If you do notice a pain, pressure or swelling in or around a tooth, set an appointment as soon as possible.

It’s also extremely important to visit your dentist at least twice a year. During a regular checkup, your dentist will be able to catch any cavities that have formed. From there, they can fill the cavities. This will help you to avoid needing root canal therapy down the line.

Costs Involved

The cost of root canal therapy depends on a patient’s individual needs. The severity of the infection will often vary from patient to patient and even from tooth to tooth. A tooth also may be infected to the point where a crown needs to be placed, which will also add to the cost.

Insurance will likely cover a portion of the costs, but how much your insurance covers depends on your insurance plan. Speak with your insurance company if you have any questions about whether or not a dentist is in network, and how much of the cost of a root canal procedure they will cover.

Root canal therapy is nothing to be scared of. What’s scarier is what will happen to your infected tooth if you allow it to go untreated! If you notice any symptoms of a tooth infection, set an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. This may mean the difference between getting a root canal, and having a tooth permanently removed.