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Root Canal Therapy

Quick, Comfortable Treatment for Painful Teeth

Sometimes, a tooth is too decayed or damaged for a simple restoration (like a filling) to repair it. To keep the natural tooth in the gum line and functioning for years to come, root canal therapy may be the appropriate method of treatment. This is a common restorative solution for many patients -- and, despite what you have heard, there is nothing to fear from a modern root canal. Keep reading to learn more about why root canals are necessary, how the procedure works, and how long recovery lasts. We’ve got everything you need to know about root canals!

When Is a Root Canal Necessary?

We will likely recommend a root canal when the interior tissue of a tooth (the pulp) is infected or exposed due to decay or injury. Each tooth is surrounded by an outer layer of tooth enamel, and this is where cavities begin. If they are not treated, the decay will gradually spread to penetrate the interior of the tooth. Once the pulp has been affected, it’s too late for a simple filling.

You are likely to feel a tooth that needs a root canal, as the sensitive nerve endings of a tooth are located in its interior. If you experience a dull, throbbing ache or lingering sensitivity to heat, cold, pressure, or air, do not hesitate to get in touch with us for treatment. 

What Happens In a Root Canal Procedure?

Most root canals are completed over the course of two visits to our office. During the first, the procedure will be completed and you can fully heal while we create the crown to restore the tooth in the time between appointments. After one to two weeks, you return to our office for the final restoration of the tooth.

The procedure for a root canal is completed in a series of steps:

  1. Local anesthesia and possibly sedation are administered to make sure you are completely comfortable throughout the procedure.
  2. The interior of the tooth is accessed and the tissues are removed with special tools.
  3. The root canals are reshaped.
  4. A biocompatible material is placed inside the tooth.
  5. The permanent restoration is placed on top either in the same appointment or a follow-up.

How Long Does Recovery Last after a Root Canal?

You are likely to experience some discomfort, swelling, and minor bleeding after the initial root canal procedure. These side effects are completely normal -- you have just had oral surgery, after all. Follow our post-op instructions carefully: eat only soft foods, plan plenty of time to rest and relax, and take care when brushing and flossing. You will be back on your feet before you know it! If bleeding, discomfort, or swelling worsen or do not improve after several days, get in touch with us right away.

Root Canal FAQs

Man with orange question mark wonders about root canal in Lansdale

If you’ve been told that you need a root canal in Lansdale, it’s normal to have a few questions. Thankfully, the more you know about your upcoming procedure, the more prepared and confident you’ll feel about taking care of your smile and oral health. Below, you’ll find a few common questions we get about this tooth-saving treatment. If you don’t see the answers that you’re looking for below, don’t hesitate to call us or schedule an appointment!

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How Long Can I Wait to Get Root Canal Therapy?

Your Lansdale dentist doesn’t recommend root canal therapy lightly. If you need it, we highly recommend that you don’t put it off any later than you have to! It’s understandable to want to avoid it if you’re nervous, but remember, teeth can’t repair themselves. Leaving a broken or damaged tooth untreated will inevitably cause the issue to get worse, which could pose a threat to the rest of your teeth and even your overall health. Don’t put your smile and wellbeing at risk—if you need root canal therapy, get it as soon as you can.

Why Do I Need Root Canal Therapy If My Tooth Doesn’t Hurt?

It’s common knowledge that an intense, throbbing toothache is a common tell-tale sign that root canal therapy is needed. However, many people don’t realize that they may need root canal therapy even if they have no dental pain at all! If the nerve of your tooth has been severely damaged by an injury or harmful bacteria from an infection, your tooth may simply feel numb. However, even though it may not be uncomfortable, your tooth is still in danger of being lost or spreading infection to the nearby teeth.

Is It Safe for Pregnant Women to Get Root Canal Therapy?

The American Dental Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all encourage women to get the dental care they need while pregnant, including root canal therapy. Thanks to advancements in dental techniques and technology, root canal therapy is safer and more effective than ever before. Numerous studies have found that the numbing medications used to keep you comfortable during your treatment are safe for both you and your baby. Be sure to let us know beforehand if you’re expecting and how far along you are in your pregnancy so we can adjust your treatment accordingly and take any necessary extra precautions.

Should I Get a Tooth Extraction Instead of Root Canal Therapy?

Many patients incorrectly assume that it’s quicker, easier, and simpler to have a problematic tooth removed altogether instead of repairing it. While a tooth extraction may seem like a straightforward solution, it has several disadvantages when compared to root canal therapy. Not only does extraction have a longer recovery time, but it leaves behind a gap in your smile that needs to be filled. Missing even a single tooth can lead to jawbone deterioration, difficulties eating and speaking, and a higher risk of serious oral health issues. That’s why we do everything we can to preserve your natural tooth structure instead! Root canal therapy is almost always the better choice for your smile and health.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Root Canal?

Recovery time is different for everyone, but many patients are able to return to work or school the day after root canal therapy. If your job requires physical labor, you may want to take two to three days off, as vigorous exercise can make the healing process take longer by diverting blood from the site. Any soreness can be managed with recommended over-the-counter and prescribed pain relievers. Stick to softer foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Brush and floss as normal but be especially careful around the treated tooth. If you experience pain that worsens instead of improving after three days, give us a call!

How Long Do Root Canals Last?

Root canals have a remarkably high success rate. Most teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy go on to provide full chewing function for many years down the road. The longevity of your root canal will depend on several different factors, including the extent of damage to the tooth and the time elapsed between placing the temporary and permanent filling or crown. To help your root canal last as long as possible, closely follow your post-op instructions and keep up an excellent oral hygiene routine.

Can I Take Antibiotics Instead of Getting a Root Canal?

Antibiotics are able to treat bacterial infections in almost every part of the body, but they don’t work with tooth infections. This is because antibiotics travel throughout the bloodstream to target affected areas on the body, but the bloodstream cannot reach the pulp of the tooth. This means that antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection. If the pulp of the tooth is infected, the only option to treat it, other than extracting the tooth entirely, is root canal therapy.

Are Root Canals Covered by Insurance?

Dental insurance primarily covers routine preventive care, like cleanings and checkups, that can prevent the need for root canal therapy. However, most dental insurance plans will cover a portion of the cost after you have paid your deductible and before you have reached your annual maximum. Root canal therapy is typically considered a major restorative procedure, so it is often covered at up to 50% by insurance.

Call Us Today!

Are you dealing with an aching or damaged tooth? A root canal may be necessary to rescue it from extraction and keep your smile healthy and whole. Don’t wait to find out -- go ahead and contact us today.

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