Root Canal Therapy – Westminster, CO
Save Your Tooth and Relieve Your Pain
Root canal treatment has been around since the mid-19th century. It began as a necessary but extremely unpleasant procedure that gained a reputation for the pain associated with it. Modern root canal therapy is completely different. In fact, it is quite comfortable for patients. If you have an aching tooth, there is no need to be afraid of root canal therapy; this emergency treatment can relieve your pain, save your smile, and get you on the road to a happier, healthier smile.
Root Canal Therapy Is Necessary
The root canal is the area inside the tooth’s root that contains the pulp, a soft substance that’s full of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. When this area becomes infected, the result is significant pain. There is also a risk that the infection will spread and affect the surrounding teeth and gums; it could even lead to systemic illness.
In most cases, an infection reaches the root canal via tooth decay. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, eventually leading to cavities. As a cavity worsens, it first penetrates the tooth’s enamel (the outermost layer) and then the dentin (the tooth’s second layer). Eventually, the bacteria that caused the tooth decay reach the sensitive pulp and cause it to become inflamed. The purpose of a root canal is to clean out the tooth’s interior, thus putting a stop to the infection and the pain.
The Root Canal Therapy Procedure
The first step during root canal therapy is to ensure patient comfort. Dr. Bancroft, your dentist in Westminster, offers both local anesthetic and oral conscious sedation. The sedation does not put you to sleep, but it does produce a powerful calming effect so you can remain relaxed throughout your treatment.
Once she is sure you’re comfortable, Dr. Bancroft will use special tools to access the root canal. She’ll clean out the infection and remove the nerve that is sending pain signals to your brain. Then, she’ll use a special material, called gutta percha, to fill in the tooth to help it maintain its structure. After your procedure is done, you can expect any lingering soreness to dissipate within a few days.
Following a root canal, most patients need to return to our office to receive a crown to protect the tooth against further damage.
The Cost and Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a major procedure, and some patients hesitate to pay for it. They may opt to have the tooth extracted instead. However, bear in mind that an extraction may lead to further complications. For example, the teeth around the empty space may drift out of place, leading to misalignment. A misaligned bite, in turn, can cause painful TMJ problems. Additionally, a missing tooth can even lead to further tooth loss. Replacing a missing tooth with a dental implant also presents a significant cost. It is generally best for both your budget and your dental health to save a tooth via root canal therapy rather than to have the tooth extracted.
In many cases, dental insurance covers up to half the cost of root canal therapy. If you do not have insurance, our team will be happy to help you apply for affordable financing.
Root Canal FAQs
When preparing for a root canal in Westminster, Dr. Bancroft understands you probably have many questions. Whether it is about preparing for your oral surgery, what will occur during your procedure, or what you can expect once you return home to recover, she is here to provide the answers you need. It is our goal to help you feel confident and comfortable no matter the type of dental work you are receiving, which is why you will find a list of common questions about root canals below. If you do not see a specific question and answer listed, please contact our office to schedule an appointment today.
What should I do before a root canal?
Before having a root canal, you’ll want to make sure you eat a healthy meal but stay away from any alcohol or tobacco, as it will make it much harder for the numbing medication to work correctly. It is also advised that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever immediately before your procedure, as this will ensure greater comfort once the anesthesia wears off.
The night before, make sure you go to bed early and get a good night’s rest. You’ll want to do the same once you return home after your root canal. This can be beneficial in keeping your immune system in check, allowing for quicker healing.
How long does a root canal take?
Usually, a root canal should only take one appointment; however, there are instances where patients need two. Should this be the case, your first visit will involve placing a temporary antibacterial medicine inside the tooth that helps to relieve pain. The second visit will involve cleaning the tooth out. On average, a normal procedure takes anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the location and severity of the damage inside the tooth. If you have a molar that requires a root canal, your dentist in Westminster will likely need to spend more time treating this area.
Can I take antibiotics instead of getting a root canal?
Unfortunately, no, you cannot take antibiotics instead of getting a root canal. The reason is that these are capable of treating bacterial infections, but not those that occur within a tooth. They’re designed to travel through the bloodstream to reach and target specific areas of the body, but the bloodstream doesn’t reach the pulp of a tooth, which is why they do not work for tooth infections. For this reason, root canal therapy is the only possible solution apart from extracting the tooth, which is only viewed as a last resort.
Do root canals ever have to be redone?
The success rate for root canals is quite high if performed by a skilled professional; however, there is always a small chance that a problem might occur, resulting in the root canal needing to be redone in the future. Referred to as endodontic retreatment, it can occur as a result of your saliva contaminating the tooth during the procedure or a prolonged period between the completion of your root canal and receiving the customized dental crown that is placed on top of the weakened tooth. Your root canal may also need to be redone if some of the canals are not thoroughly cleaned out during the procedure.
If you experience any new tooth decay or damage after receiving your crown, there is also the chance you’ll need to have your root canal redone in the future.