What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats the portion of your tooth hidden beneath the gum line, called the root. The outer portion of the root is hard, but the inside channel contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. When bacteria is introduced into the root, it can severely damage the pulp and cause pain and discomfort. An endodontist’s job is to remove the bacteria and disinfect the affected area to save your tooth and prevent future infection.
What is a “root canal?”
A “root canal” is a common way many people refer to endodontic or root canal therapy. It’s a procedure to clean out the bacteria from the pulp, root or nerve of an infected tooth before disinfecting it. Those formerly infected areas are then filled and sealed off so you can preserve your natural tooth.
How do I know if I need root canal therapy?
Generally, your dentist will diagnose your need for root canal treatment. The most common symptoms include:
- A lingering sensitivity to hot or cold
- A constant dull ache in a tooth or multiple teeth
- Discomfort when chewing or biting
- An ache or pain that wakes you up at night
- A small bump on your gums near your tooth
- Tenderness or swelling in your gums near your tooth pain
- Discoloration in a tooth or teeth
If you have questions about whether your symptoms may indicate you need a root canal, please contact us.
Is a root canal treatment painful?
The short answer is “no.” With modern technology and techniques, such as the GentleWave® we use at Wiswall Endodontics, the procedure feels similar to receiving a filling. If you experience any residual discomfort after the procedure, you can usually treat it with common over-the-counter pain medications. Click here to learn more about your procedure.
What will I feel after the procedure?
Generally, the level of pain from your infected tooth will dramatically decrease immediately after your procedure, and your heightened sensitivity to hot and cold will disappear. You may experience some residual discomfort for the first 24–48 hours after the procedure, but you can usually treat it with common over-the-counter pain medications.
It is rare, but if you experience significant pain that can’t be treated with over-the-counter medications, or visible swelling near your treated tooth, please contact us. If you reach us after hours, please follow the prompt in our voicemail to access our emergency line. Click here to learn more about your aftercare.
Will I need to return for follow-ups after the procedure?
Yes, for most root canal treatments, we recommend that patients return to the office one year after the procedure was finished. Our office will remind you when you are due for a recall appointment.
How many visits will I need for my root canal procedure?
We almost always perform your initial evaluation and your root canal procedure on the same day, generally over the course of two hours. However, sometimes it’s necessary to separate those appointments to match your schedule and needs. Click here to learn more about your first visit.
What are the benefits of root canal therapy versus extraction?
The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extraction may lead to other dental problems. Modern tooth replacements are very effective, but nothing is as good as your natural tooth.
Do I need to worry about infection?
We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Dental Association. We utilize sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.
What happens after treatment?
After the procedure, we’ll send a record of your treatment to your dentist. If you need a final filling or crown, you should contact your dentist’s office for a follow-up restoration to occur within a few weeks of your root canal procedure. It’s rare, but some patients do experience complications after routine root canal procedures. If you encounter a problem, contact us immediately. If you reach us after hours, please follow the prompt in our voicemail to access our emergency line.