Root Canal Treatment: FAQ

Endodontic therapy — or as most people refer to it, “root canal” treatment — is a type of root filling where we restore a larger area inside of your tooth.

Why do I need a root canal?

Getting a root canal can help to preserve your tooth, so that it doesn’t continue to break down or need to be extracted. We typically look at endodontic treatment as the “last line of defense” when it comes to saving your natural smile.

The only way to know for certain if you need root canal treatment or not is to have an X-ray taken of the tooth so that we can look at the nerve and root structure. If there’s evidence of a periapical (around the root tip) infection or internal resorption (dissolving) of the tooth itself, then endodontic therapy is the next appropriate step.

What are the symptoms of tooth death or dental nerve damage?

Some of the reasons why a tooth would die or show nerve damage include:

  • A large, old, leaky filling
  • Past traumatic injury to the tooth
  • Severe decay that reaches into the nerve
  • A cracked root
  • Hypersensitivity

Can I just get a filling or crown instead?

Unfortunately, no. Putting a filling or crown over your abscessed tooth will just trap any infection inside of it, leading to additional abscesses. It’s necessary to remove the infected nerve and seal out the source of infection. If you have a tooth that is dying or infected from the inside, the inner portion of the structure needs to be treated rather than covered up.

Should I extract my tooth instead of getting a root canal?

Some people feel that it’s easier, faster, and cheaper to just have an abscessed tooth extracted instead of getting a root canal. Although tooth removal offers interim benefits, it can lead to additional concerns and treatment costs. For example, the new space that’s created can lead to significant changes in tooth alignment, raising your risk of TMJ disorder, gum disease, and tooth decay. If you choose to replace the tooth with a bridge or dental implant, it may wind up costing more than if you had completed the root canal initially.

Do root canals hurt?

The biggest misconception about root canal therapy is that there’s pain involved. In reality, endodontic treatment is meant to help relieve the source of your pain. If we feel that the infection is severe enough that it will interfere with the local anesthetic (how we numb your tooth,) we may need to prescribe an antibiotic leading up to your procedure.

If you feel anxious about getting a root canal, it might help to request a light form of sedation (like laughing gas) to help put you at ease. Although the local anesthetic will completely numb your tooth, the sedative can make you feel more lighthearted and less perceptive of any discomfort.

What is a root canal dentist?

Endodontists are experts in root canal therapy. At Oasispark Dental, our dentists are general practitioners who provide in-house endodontic therapy rather than automatically refer all cases out to a specialist.

What happens during root canal surgery?

Getting root canal surgery is quite similar to having any other routine type of dental procedure. To ensure you’re comfortable, we’ll carefully anesthetize the tooth being treated, so that you won’t have to feel a thing. From there, we’ll access the nerve chamber to remove the necrotic nerve tissue. After the open canals are cleaned, we seal them off to prevent bacteria from re-infecting your tooth.

Will I need other treatment alongside of endodontic therapy?

When your tooth loses its nerve supply and blood vessels, it becomes quite brittle. To prevent any premature wear or unnecessary fractures, we recommend that all root canal treated teeth also have a crown placed over them to protect the structure that’s left.

Do kids ever need root canals?

Primary (baby) teeth usually do not get root canals, because the roots will start to shrink away as it’s time for the tooth to fall out. However, active abscesses in baby teeth do need to be treated. An alternative pulpotomy is usually the treatment of choice.

Where’s the best place to get a root canal in Newmarket?

If you’re looking for a root canal dentist, we encourage you to visit the friendly general dentists at Oasispark Dental in Newmarket! During your consultation we’ll be happy to answer any questions or address concerns you may have.

For gentle endodontic treatment in Newmarket, contact us today!


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