What is A Root Canal?

Do you have unexplainable tooth pain? Maybe you know you need a root canal and are looking for the best dentist or endodontist for your treatment. You’ve found him! Dr. Albik is a well-rounded dentist trained in endodontic treatments such as root canals.

A root canal is necessary when a tooth’s “pulp” becomes infected. In a tooth structure, the dental pulp is located inside the tooth below the enamel and dentin (hard tissue) of a tooth. The pulp contains a tooth’s nerve tissue and blood vessels.

If the infected pulp is not treated, it can infect the rest of the tooth as well as past the roots of the tooth. This is why root canals are beneficial, as without it, the infection would continue to spread, potentially causing an abscess and likely need to be removed.

A root canal requires removing the pulp from the infected tooth, disinfecting the pulp canals, and sealing the canals with a rubber-like filling material.

After this process, you and Dr. Albik will decide the best treatment option for you regarding a filling or crown to cover your restored tooth. Dental emergencies and oral surgery can be scary, but that’s why we’re here to help you restore your oral health!

Keep reading to learn what causes root canals, more about the entire procedure, and the aftercare of root canals! Our team at El Dorado Family Dental wants to help you get rid of inconvenient tooth pain and get back to everyday life.

Having Teeth and Gum Pain? Call Us To Schedule Your Future Dental Visits!

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(916) 905-5565

“I knew I needed a root canal, but my current dentist did not provide the service. They tried referring me to an endodontist, but I was not sure about going to them. I found El Dorado Family Dental and they not only did a great job with my root canal treatment but are now my primary dentist!”
– Janice M. Elk Grove, CA

Top 4 Reasons You May Need A Root Canal

1. Tooth decay

The older you get, the older your teeth get. This means root canals may be necessary just from natural aging of teeth throughout life stages. The decayed tooth can also lead to bacterial infections from not being taken care of properly.

2. Deep Cavity

Similar to tooth decay, a deep cavity that has not been taken care of can lead to needing a root canal. Getting cavities taken care of immediately helps avoid this! The unresolved infection inside the tooth can also cause bad breath and lead to other gum diseases.

3. Trauma or injury

Grinding teeth in your sleep could lead to tooth pulp becoming infected. If severe enough, grinding teeth could cause the pulp to be exposed, leading to debris being pushed down into the tooth. Cracked teeth can also affect the pulp’s health, because it too allows it to be exposed.

4. Filling complication

There is a possibility that a filling administered previously may be getting too old without being replaced. For people who grind their teeth, cavity fillings will need to be replaced more often than for people who do not. When fillings are not maintained properly, this allows for the cavity to return and decay the tooth, which can lead to needing a root canal.

Step by Step Look at A Root Canal Procedure

If you are experiencing pain in your tooth (or teeth), an appointment to get a diagnosis is the first step. If the pain is caused by a root canal, the procedure begins with understanding the extent of the tooth’s damage.

Root canal treatment can be spread over more than one appointment. Before your root canal procedure, antibiotics may be suggested or prescribed to begin fighting the infection in your tooth.

A dental x-ray showing three stages of a root canal treatment

Here is the average root canal treatment step by step:

1. Numbing the tooth and taking an x-ray

This ensures that the treatment is pain-free and more comfortable. X-rays are sometimes taken before a root canal procedure. An x-ray prior to the treatment assists in seeing a clear picture of the tooth and can be used to compare with a post-treatment x-ray.

2. Placing a shield, or “rubber dam” over affected tooth

This rubber dam isolates the tooth, keeping it clean and dry. This also protects your other teeth from the chemicals used to disinfect the root canal tooth.

3. Trauma or injury3. Getting to the infected pulp

A small opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.

4. Fluid is used to fill the root canals

The fluid, generally sodium hypochlorite, is used to kill the bacteria and any debris that may be in the canals. The fluids may also contain medication to treat the infection at the source.

5. The pulp is removed and filled

Dr. Albik will remove the pulp infecting your tooth and carefully clean out the canals. Once clean, he will fill and seal the canals with a rubber-like material called “gutta percha.”

This part of the treatment usually takes the longest, as your dentist needs to be sure that all of the infected pulp has been removed to avoid future complications.

6. Temporary root canal fillings, crowns, or permanent fillings

After a root canal, it is typical to have a temporary filling placed in the opening until putting in a crown or permanent filling.

7. Antibiotics may be prescribed

If the infection has spread from your tooth’s pulp past the roots, antibiotics may be prescribed before or after the treatment.

Continue reading to learn more about the aftercare and pain management of a root canal.

Aftercare and Pain Management of A Root Canal

Aftercare of a root canal is typically the same across all cases, but there are a couple differences depending on if you decide between a filling or crown working better for you.

After the treatment, the numbing will eventually wear off and the tooth will likely be sore. For the root canal pain, Dr. Albik may prescribe or suggest over-the-counter painkillers after your office visit.

Depending on whether or not you had to take antibiotics prior to treatment, you will either be prescribed antibiotics to help ensure the infection is gone or be asked to finish off the dose you have been taking prior to your dental procedure.

If you only got a temporary canal filling following your root canal, you will need to schedule another appointment to get your decided choice of a permanent filling or crown.

The down time of a root canal treated tooth is individual. Depending on the severity of the infection and treatment, some people can go back to regular activities the next day while others may need a couple days.

It is recommended to reduce chewing food on or near the tooth that had a root canal. This is especially important if you only have two separate dental visits to replace your temporary filling with a permanent filling or crown.

Deciding between a crown and a filling can depend on the severity of the damage to your natural tooth. Crowns are better for teeth with more damage and provide overall better protection. In more minor situations, permanent fillings will do just fine but should be monitored more closely than a crown.

Depending on the proficiency of oral care, teeth with a root canal treatment have high success rates and can last many years. It is important to visit the dentist every 6 months, especially if you’ve had a root canal procedure. As recommended by all dentists, brush at least twice a day, use dental floss, and use mouthwash.

We Care About Your Dental Health. Contact Our Root Canal Specialists For Your Best Treatment Option!

Call Now
(916) 905-5565

“I was in denial about having tooth pain, as I’ve heard myths about root canals being awful. Dr. Albik assured me that he would make the treatment as comfortable as possible, and he did just that! I cannot thank him enough.”
– Marcus D. Folsom, CA

Root Canals Explained Further: Why Not Remove the Infected Tooth?

Removing the tooth may seem like a viable option, rather than going through the whole process of getting a root canal. However, there are many complications that can arise from extracting a natural tooth.

Removing the tooth without replacing it will most likely cause the other teeth around it to shift. This can cause issues with chewing, cleaning, and preserving the overall longevity of your dental health.

Getting dental implants is generally more intrusive than other endodontic treatment options such as a root canal. Saving your natural tooth has high success rates and is more comfortable overall.

Dental implants can also be more expensive than a root canal treatment with a crown or filling. Crowns and fillings help maintain the appearance of your natural teeth, especially when comparing it to the appearance of a missing tooth.

Cost of Root Canal Treatment

The cost of a root canal treatment depends on the extent of the infection and the dental care required on the affected tooth. Some treatments have individual requirements determined by your dentist or endodontist. The two most common factors that affect the treatment cost include:

  1. The extent of the infection: Some root canals cases call for more extensive care such as antibiotics and extra dental visits.
  2. What is used to repair the tooth: Especially with root canals, price can vary widely depending on whether the tooth’s final restoration is done with a permanent filling or crown.

It is possible that your dental insurance may cover some or all of the cost for a root canal and/or a crown or filling. Our team of treatment coordinators will discuss your dental insurance benefits with you to determine any out-of-pocket costs.

If you do not have insurance, or need payment options for a co-pay, we can recommend using CareCredit for convenient and affordable financing.

An investment well spent, a restored tooth from a root canal can last many years if it is well-maintained.

When you need a root canal, you are likely already experiencing a high level of pain and discomfort. Stop dealing with the pain and protect your oral health! Dr. Albik has helped thousands of patients just like you relieve their tooth pain with a root canal treatment. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment. We are open late Monday to Friday and open on Saturday to help work with your scheduling needs!