Root Canals (Endodontic Treatment) in Saratoga Springs, NY

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About Root Canals

If ever a reputation preceded a procedure in dentistry, it would be that of root canal therapy. Unfortunately, the myth that root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is painful has prevented many people from saving teeth from unnecessary extractions. Our dentists strive to make all procedures painless. We welcome the opportunity to surprise you with how painless, and even enjoyable, a root canal can be. One tooth at a time, our dentists hope to dispel the myth that root canals are painful and help you to save your teeth for a lifetime.

Why Do I Need A Root Canal?

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. When bacteria (from decay, fracture, trauma, etc.) first invade the nerve of the tooth, they will elicit an inflammatory response from the nerve; if this inflammatory process occurs slowly, it may be completely painless and without any symptoms. If this process occurs quickly, the inflammation will cause swelling within the tooth which is rigid and does not expand to accommodate the increased pressure resulting in severe pain. Once the nerve tissue is completely infected, bacteria may escape into the surrounding bone, resulting in an infection that can be quite severe, causing pain, destruction of the surrounding bone, and spread of the infection to adjacent teeth.

If the diseased nerve tissue is not removed from the tooth via a root canal treatment, the tooth will eventually have to be removed. By completing the root canal and removing the diseased nerve, we are removing the source of the bacteria, preventing the spread of the infection, and allowing the opportunity for the patient’s natural immunity to clear any lingering infection in the surrounding bone. In the past, teeth with diseased nerves (pulps) were routinely extracted. Unfortunately, this is still true today, partially because root canal therapy is viewed by patients to be expensive and painful. Our dentists and staff urge all patients considering extraction rather than root canal therapy to discuss the options thoroughly. Often times removing the tooth may be the most costly option. Root canal therapy is the treatment of choice to save an otherwise healthy tooth. Our staff will help you make an educated treatment decision and work to dispel the myth of the painful root canal.

Signs and symptoms that you may need a root canal include:

  1. An abscess (or bump) on the gums
  2. Sensitivity to hot and cold, particularly to hot and especially if the pain lingers
  3. Severe toothache
  4. Swelling or tenderness to touch
  5. Fractured or broken teeth with not symptoms at all
  6. Pain that wakes you at night or worsens when lying down

What Does Root Canal Therapy Involve?

The first, most important point to remember is – it’s not painful. The second, most important point to remember is – it’s not painful! In fact, the top 10, most important points to remember regarding root canal therapy are all – it’s not painful.

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments, depending on the number of canals present, the degree of difficulty, and the size of the infection present. The procedure can be performed by a general dentist or an endodontist (a root canal specialist). Depending on the findings of your general dentist, you may be referred to the specialist for treatment if the dentist feels that the success of the procedure will be improved with an endodontist. If you are referred to a specialist, do not be concerned that the procedure will be more difficult. In fact, on the contrary, most referrals are made in the attempt of keeping the patient comfortable and improving the overall outcome.

Prior to initiating the endodontic therapy, our staff and dentists will thoroughly explain the proposed procedure, review all risks and answer all your questions. Once the tooth is profoundly numb, the tooth will be isolated with a rubber dam, thus keeping the tooth dry and free from saliva contamination. A conservative access is made through the tooth and all the decay is removed and dead tissue cleared. A series of root canal files are placed into the tooth, one at a time effectively removing the nerve tissue and bacteria.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleansed, it will be dried, and either a medicine will be placed within the tooth or a permanent filling will be placed within the canals. A temporary filling is typically placed over the access following completion of the root canal.

It is essential to remember that all teeth that have had root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed to ensure a favorable long-term prognosis. A crown helps to prevent leakage into the root canal, protect the tooth from fracturing, and restores the tooth to its full function.

After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive, particularly during biting. This sensation will resolve as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.