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Root Canal Procedure

Root canal therapy treats infections in the dental pulp, the innermost part of the tooth. The dental pulp is inside the pulp chamber and includes connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. Root canal treatment is extremely common and can restore a tooth to full health and functionality. The alternative to root canal treatment is to have an infected tooth extracted. We only recommend tooth removal as a last resort, as it is always preferable to preserve your natural teeth.

Table of contents

When Would I Need Root Canal Therapy?

Root Canal ProcedureYou would need root canal therapy if bacteria naturally found in your mouth can enter your dental pulp, causing inflammation, a condition called pulpitis. An inflamed pulp becomes swollen, increasing pressure inside the pulp chamber and causing a painful toothache.

Sometimes, trauma can cause tooth pain. If you take a blow to the mouth, it can inflame the pulp, causing it to become swollen and painful.

How Can Bacteria Enter a Tooth?

Bacteria can penetrate the innermost part of your tooth in a couple of ways.

  • Bacteria can enter the tooth if you have an untreated cavity or a filling that has failed or crumbled away.
  • If your tooth is damaged or cracked, bacteria can soon penetrate the tooth. Even a small crack in a tooth can open up when you bite down, allowing bacteria to enter.

What Are the Signs You Need a Root Canal?

Sometimes, the signs of damage or infection in the tooth are symptomless. If you do have symptoms, they may include the following.

  1. Toothache: Toothache that fails to go away and feels as if it is deep inside the tooth. The pain may spread to nearby teeth, your jaw, or facial muscles.
  2. Pain when you bite or chew: Your tooth may feel painful when you put it under pressure during biting or chewing. This can indicate that the nerves in the tooth pulp are damaged or infected.
  3. Tooth discoloration: An infection in the tooth pulp can prevent the blood vessels from transporting blood to the tooth. As a result, it can become discolored and darkened.
  4. Swollen gum: The gum around the tooth can become swollen and feel tender.
  5. Pimple on your gum: A pimple can develop on the gum nearest the tooth and is caused by a buildup of pus. If the pimple begins to ooze, the pus will likely smell very unpleasant.
  6. Bad breath: You could have bad breath or an unpleasant taste.
  7. Facial swelling: Your jaw or face could begin to swell due to pus buildup that cannot drain away from the infected tooth.
  8. Loose tooth: The infection can spread to the jawbone surrounding the tooth, destroying bone and other structures like periodontal ligaments so your tooth feels loose.

What Happens If I Don’t See a Dentist?

Sometimes, an infected tooth can be painful, but the pain disappears. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean the infection is gone, as it will not clear up without professional dental care. It can indicate that the tooth nerve causing the pain has died.

An untreated infection can spread to other parts of your body and affect your overall health. You must seek emergency dental care if you begin to feel unwell, have facial swelling, or develop a fever. On rare occasions, a severe infection can be life-threatening.

Ultimately, leaving an infected tooth untreated greatly increases the risk of losing it completely. A severely infected tooth may need to be removed to drain the infection.

How Is an Infected Tooth Diagnosed?

When you come to see us, we will take a digital dental x-ray of the tooth to visualize the infection and confirm that you need root canal treatment. Other diagnostic tests that may be used can include:

  • Tapping gently on the tooth to assess if you feel sensitive or uncomfortable.
  • Placing a hot or cold substance on the tooth to test for sensitivity.
  • Assessing the gum and bone around your tooth.
  • Asking you to bite down gently to see if the tooth feels painful.

If you need treatment, rest assured it will not feel painful. It shouldn’t feel any worse than a filling, although root canal treatment is much more technique-sensitive and will take longer to complete.

Root Canal Near Me: Repair and Save Badly Damaged or Infected Teeth at My New Jersey Dentist

When searching for effective treatment for severely cracked and decayed teeth that cause significant pain and discomfort, it’s crucial to select a dentist who possesses specialized training and expertise in root canal therapy and other endodontic procedures.

How to Find a Dentist Offering Root Canal Procedures in Your Area

If you’re looking for a root canal specialist nearby, here are a few tips:

  • Reach out to friends and family for recommendations.
  • Search online for “root canal dentist near me,” “emergency root canal near me,” and “root canal specialist near me.”
  • Read reviews of local root canal dentists online and schedule consultations with them to get to know their practice.

At My New Jersey Dentist, we offer convenient access to high-quality dental care for patients requiring root canal therapy. Our clinic prioritizes long-term patient relationships, tailoring treatment plans to address individual needs. For infected root canals, our comprehensive approach includes pulp removal, thorough cleaning, and restorative sealing.

Our board-certified dentists perform endodontic procedures with minimal discomfort, utilizing the latest lasers, a cone beam CT scanner, and the latest powerful dental microscope available in the US to effectively manage inflammation and infection.

What to Expect During Root Canal Therapy?

Before we begin, we numb the tooth completely and isolate it using a rubber dam so your tooth remains dry during treatment. Treatment then follows several steps outlined below.

  1. Our dentist will make a small access hole in the tooth crown to expose the pulp chamber.
  2. We clean out the pulp chamber thoroughly, getting rid of all tissues.
  3. The root canals extending from the pulp chamber into your tooth roots are cleaned using microscopic dentistry. A high-powered dental microscope ensures our dentist can see clearly and remove all tissue thoroughly using specially shaped files.
  4. Once clean, your tooth is disinfected thoroughly. We may insert antibiotics into the empty pulp chamber to treat a severe infection.
  5. A temporary filling is placed, and your tooth is left to settle down.
  6. During your next visit, we will remove the temporary filling material and fill the tooth permanently with a rubbery substance called gutta-percha.

Your tooth will need a dental crown to protect and restore it. A tooth becomes nonvital and slightly more brittle without its dental pulp. Although a fully grown adult tooth can survive perfectly well without the pulp, it does need the protection of a full dental crown. The tooth has likely lost a substantial part of its original structure, so the crown restores its strength and appearance.

It may be possible to fabricate a same-day crown. Otherwise, making your crown in our dental laboratory will take one or two weeks. While it is being made, your tooth is protected with a temporary crown.

What to Expect After Root Canal Therapy?

If your tooth is painful and throbbing, root canal therapy should eliminate this discomfort. However, it’s perfectly normal for the tooth to feel slightly sensitive for a few days after any dental procedure.

You may find eating softer foods for the first few days more comfortable and avoiding chewing on the root-treated tooth. Please try to avoid smoking because it affects healing. Ensure you continue to brush your teeth gently and thoroughly and floss daily.

Your tooth should settle down quickly, but please get in touch with us if it continues to hurt.

Can a Tooth Become Re-infected After Root Canal Treatment?

Many people will find their tooth problem-free for years or for life after root canal treatment. However, there is a small risk that it could become re-infected later. At this stage, we must assess the tooth carefully to see if it is suitable for root canal re-treatment. This procedure is generally more complex than root canal therapy.

If your tooth does become re-infected, we will discuss the pros and cons of re-treatment, including an approximate idea of the chances of long-term success. If we feel there is only a limited chance of successful re-treatment, we can discuss removing the tooth and replacing it instead. Possible options for replacement include a dental implant or dental bridge.

Can I Avoid Root Canal Therapy?

Professional preventive dentistry can help reduce the risk of common problems like tooth infections. Regular dental exams enable us to pick up on any tooth damage and treat it quickly before a significant infection can develop.

A good oral care routine at home helps to remove most dental plaque, lowering the risk of a bacterial buildup that could infect a tooth. Your oral care routine should include twice daily brushing and flossing once a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, preferably a brand that has received the American Dental Association seal of approval.

If you have noticed a tooth has started to twinge or feel sensitive to hot and cold, it could indicate an infection. Please schedule a checkup with us as soon as possible. Prompt treatment could help you avoid a nasty toothache and the need for emergency dental care.

Page Updated on May 30, 2024 by Dr. Victoria Kushensky, DDS (Dentist) of My New Jersey Dentist
Victoria Kushensky D.D.S

My name is Victoria Kushensky. I am a general dentist dedicated to remaining at the forefront of my field. Combining compassionate care with extensive knowledge, I offer cosmetic and general dentistry services as well as advanced root canal treatments.

I earned my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the esteemed New York University College of Dentistry. Throughout my career, I have honed my skills in various dental procedures, ensuring effective treatment for each patient’s unique needs. I prioritize patient comfort and understanding, taking the time to thoroughly explain procedures and address any questions.

More about Dr. Kushensky

My NJ Dentist: Victoria Kushensky, DDS
385 Prospect Ave Suite 304
Hackensack, NJ 07601
(201) 298-8000