Root canal therapy is currently one of the most commonly performed dental procedures in the United States and, yet, some still are afraid of it.
Root canal treatment allows an otherwise compromised or infected tooth to be retained in the mouth instead of extracted or removed, and plenty of them are done every year. According to the American Association of Endodontists, more than 15 million root canals are performed a year! Advances in technology and technique have propelled root canal therapy into one of the most predictable procedures in dentistry.
There are many peer-reviewed, scientific studies that demonstrate a success rate for root canals to be around 90 percent. The surgical microscope allows well-trained clinicians to address the tiny root canal system better than ever before. Additionally, new imaging techniques such as Cone Beam Tomography can provide a three dimensional rendition of your tooth so that your endodontist has a radiographic guide and visual representation of your nerve canal before a bur is ever placed on the tooth.
All of that may be well and good, but the procedure is going to hurt, right? Even though you may have an infected tooth or a tooth that is causing significant discomfort, the procedure itself should be virtually painless. Yes, that’s right…painless.
With today’s anesthetics and the correct techniques, we find this procedure can be performed without any discomfort to the patient. We always believe in letting the anesthetic sit for a while prior to treatment. After the anesthetic has had time to take hold, we have several tests that can confirm definitive anesthesia prior to starting our treatment. In addition to the anesthetic type and technique, patience on behalf of the clinician is paramount and key to a painless root canal.
But the tooth is going to hurt after the procedure, right? Certainly if a tooth is infected or acutely tender, the body needs time to heal and in turn alleviate the inflammation and soreness. Once the root canal system (the dental nerve) is removed and cleaned thoroughly, the body can initiate healing and repair the bone around the tooth. I always tell my patients to expect a couple days of soreness, but overall the tooth should be much improved. After 48-72 hours, our patients are usually pain free. If you have temperature sensitivity prior to the root canal then that sensation is resolved immediately following treatment.
Over the last 15 years many advances in training and technology have enabled root canal treatment to become one of the most predictable and easy procedures for a patient to experience. With these advances in dentistry and endodontics, patients should have no fear of having a root canal performed.
If you are in need of endodontic treatment, please contact us today.