Dental Tips Blog


How Bad Do Root Canals Hurt?

Posted in Root Canals

Root canals themselves don’t hurt at all. That’s right, dentistry’s most dreaded procedure is actually pain-free.

Where did root canals get their reputation for being painful, then? And what can you expect to feel during a root canal procedure?

The True Cause of Root Canal Pain

A root canal is a procedure where the dentist opens your tooth to remove the nerve. This sounds painful, but what actually hurts is the condition that leads to your even needing a root canal.

Teeth with infected or compromised nerves don’t have much time left to live. As the nerve breaks down, it can be very sensitive and swells until it painfully presses against the inside of the tooth.

As you might imagine, this makes for a very uncomfortable situation. Getting a root canal relieves swelling in the tooth and removes the painful nerve. So root canal therapy isn’t painful – it’s a pain-reliever!

What It Feels Like to Get a Root Canal

You’ll be just as numb for a root canal as you would be for any dental filling. An injection or two of local anesthesia will ensure that you don’t feel a thing. If you didn’t have numbing medication – as with a typical filling – then it would hurt.

After the procedure, your tooth will no longer feel hot and cold. The gums around your tooth may be a bit sore for a day or two, however. That kind of discomfort is easy to manage with over-the-counter medication.

If the whole idea of getting a root canal makes you nervous, then your dentist might recommend mild sedation. A sedative like laughing gas can help you relax and stay comfortable during the procedure.

Contact your dentist to learn more about what you can expect from root canal therapy.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725


Will I Need a Root Canal if I Have My Crown Re-done?

Posted in Root Canals

Maybe your dentist suggested that you update your crown. Or, perhaps you want to change it out because you’re unhappy with the look.

Dental crowns are wonderful things. They protect a tooth from all angles and restore its strength that may have been lost to decay or a fracture. But anytime a tooth is capped, it loses a bit of its structure. That’s just the way it is in order to properly fit a crown.

Whenever an old crown is replaced, there is a small chance that the tooth may need root canal (endodontic therapy). Root canals are separate (though often related) procedures in relation to crowns. You need a crown after getting a root canal, but you don’t always need endodontic therapy when getting a dental crown.

A root canal is a procedure in which your dentist removes the nerve from inside the roots of your tooth. Root canals sound scary, but they aren’t that bad. If anything, they usually bring relief to a tooth in pain.

There are three main reasons you may need root canal treatment after having an old crown removed:

  1. There is advanced decay infecting the tooth under the crown
  2. The tooth’s nerve chamber is breached during the process of getting a new crown
  3. There is so little tooth structure left that breaching the nerve chamber is virtually inevitable

If any of those situations apply to you, there’s little you can do to anticipate it. You’ll have to visit your dentist for x-rays and an exam to see how your current crown is holding up.

Posted on behalf of:
Memorial Park Dental Spa
6010 Washington Ave Suite D
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 336-8478


Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

If your tooth has suffered from recent trauma, a fracture, or damaged by a very large cavity…it probably needs a root canal.

Let’s talk a bit about your tooth anatomy to see why a root canal (endodontic treatment) might be necessary instead of a filling…

Your Tooth – There’s More Than Meets the Eye

The crown of the tooth is the part you can see above your gum tissue. The outer enamel layer protects the body of the tooth which is made of sensitive dentin. Inside the dentin is hollow – it’s a chamber filled with nerves and blood vessels that extend into the roots and jaw.

When the protective outer layers are damaged, the delicate inner chamber can become infected. This leads to an abscess, pain, and infection. If damage is too severe, your tooth may need to be extracted.

What a Root Canal Does

First, your dentist removes damaged tooth surfaces and the nerve inside of your tooth. The nerve chamber is sterilized and filled with a special material to seals out infection. Finally, the tooth receives a crown to reinforce it for everyday wear.

What You Need to Do

See your dentist immediately if you notice signs of nerve damage, such as:

  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Tenderness and swelling around a tooth
  • A discharge or funny taste
  • Change in color of the enamel

The tricky thing is that your tooth could be in grave danger and you might not feel any symptoms at all. Routine dental checkups are important to screen for problems while they’re easier to treat.

Start by visiting your dentist every six months. If he or she doesn’t provide root canals in their office, they will partner with an endodontist who does.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157


What is a Root Canal?

Posted in Root Canals

Millions of teeth are saved each year with root canal treatment. Root canals are known as an endodontic treatment because they involve treatment of the inside of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the hard enamel and dentin layer, is the pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp helps to grow the root of the tooth during development, and because of the nerves and tissue within the pulp, it is highly sensitive. A root canal is necessary when the pulp within the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. An infection in the pulp can be caused by deep tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a faulty crown, or damage to the tooth such as a crack or chip. If the inflammation or infection is left untreated, it will cause severe pain and can lead to an abscess.

During a root canal procedure, a patient will be kept comfortable by local anesthesia around the treatment area. The dentist will remove the inflamed or infected pulp from the inside of the tooth. Then the inside of the tooth will be carefully cleaned and disinfected before it is filled and sealed with a rubber like material called gutta-percha. Afterward, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth will function like any other tooth.

People who keep their regular dental appointments and who practice good daily oral hygiene are less likely to have complications with their root canal. A root canal treatment is not something that anyone should put off because of the significant damage that could progress through the mouth. If you are having pain in one or more of your teeth, call you dentist. If you are in need of a root canal, it is best to have it taken care of now rather than later.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Lawrence Rosenman, Springfield Lorton Dental Group



Root Canal Therapy

Posted in Root Canals

Cavities and tooth decay affects more than the tooth enamel, they can actually extend deep into the tooth and damage the nerve as well. This nerve extends from the crown of the tooth down through the root, and into jaw. Infected nerve tissue can cause abscesses, damage to adjacent teeth, infections throughout the head, and severe toothaches.

Root canal therapy (also known as endodontic therapy) is the treatment that removes tooth decay and nerve tissue from these teeth. During the treatment, special equipment is used to clean out the inner nerve chamber of the tooth and then medicate it to destroy any infectious bacteria. The chamber is then filled and sealed off, preventing leakage around the root of the tooth or near the crown. In essence, it’s like having a filling performed; only it’s one that extends down into the root of the tooth.

Root canal therapy can save a tooth and allow it to stay securely in the mouth for many years to come. Unfortunately, those teeth are no longer vital though, and will need to have a crown placed over them to protect the tooth so that it can withstand normal use for many more years.

Root canals have a bad reputation for being a lengthy, uncomfortable process. Believe it or not, the majority of root canals are just like other types of dental treatment. There may be some discomfort associated with local anesthesia, or mild soreness from having the mouth open, but in essence they are a standard treatment that truly does not cause any severe discomfort to patients. As an added aid to improve patient comfort, many people ask for nitrous oxide or a mild sedative.

Posted on behalf of Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC



What is Endodontics?

Posted in Root Canals

Endodontics refers to the dental speciality concerned with the study and treatment of the dental pulp. If the dental pulp inside a person’s mouth becomes diseased or injured, endodontic treatment is required to save the tooth or teeth involved.

A root canal is the most common procedure done by an endodontist. A root canal is performed when decay has already killed the tooth or is projected to kill the tooth. A root canal can also be performed for an abscessed tooth that has developed from an infection. This type of procedure is used to relieve tooth ache, stop infection, and promote healing to the infected area.

An endodontist will typically be the one who performs a root canal. A root canal removes the pulp from the center of the tooth and replaces it with a filling material in order to treat a painful infection and prevent it from spreading to other teeth. During the procedure, an endodontist will numb the gums with a jelly like substance. Once the gums are numb, a local anesthetic will be injected to completely numb the teeth, gums, tongue, and skin in the infected area. (For patients who need it, nitrous oxide gas can also be used to help a patient relax.)

The endodontist will separate the decayed tooth from other teeth in the mouth with a small sheet of rubber; it will also protect the surrounding teeth and throat from coming into contact with the filling liquid. A drill and other fine tools will be used to remove the pulp from the tooth and will fill the inside of the tooth below the gum line with medicines to fight the infection, temporary filling materials, and a final root canal filling.

For many people, a permanent crown is needed to cover the treated tooth. A technician who is involved with the procedure will make an impression of the tooth and use it to make a crown to perfectly match the drilled tooth. This crown will help to protect the tooth from breaking easily because once the pulp inside the tooth is removed, the tooth will become more fragile.

If you have an infected or severely decaying tooth, see your endodontist right away. Treating your infection promptly can save you from multiple damaged teeth, and can also stop the infection from spreading into your blood stream and infecting other areas of the body.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center



Root Canal Therapy Basics

Posted in Root Canals

Root canal therapy or treatment is a dental procedure in which the nerve and pulp is removed from the center of a tooth in order to treat an infection or to prevent the area from becoming infected.  Teeth consist of an outer layer of hard enamel that covers an inner layer of bone-like material called dentin.  In the center of the tooth is the pulp containing the nerves and blood vessels that nourish the tooth.

Sometimes an infection forms in the pulp due to damage to the tooth.  An infection will usually, but not always cause the tooth to become painful.  If left untreated, the infection will spread to nearby tissues causing further damage and requiring removal of the tooth.

Root canal therapy is meant to preserve and save the natural tooth.  Even after the nerve and blood vessels are removed, the tooth can survive because it receives nourishment from blood vessels in the gums.  Root canal therapy removes the infected tissue, stops the infection from spreading, and preserves the natural tooth.

After numbing the area, your dentist will drill a hole in the tooth to gain access to the root canal.  Your dentist will then remove the infected material, disinfect the area, and seal it.

In most cases, a cap is placed on the tooth after the root canal is completed in order to protect the root canal and to repair damage to the tooth such as a crack or decay.  A root canal with a cap is considered a permanent restoration and the tooth should last for years.  Root canals have a reputation for being uncomfortable, but in modern dentistry, there should not be any more discomfort during a root canal that there is with the placement of a filling although the root canal procedure will take more time.


Is a Root Canal Uncomfortable?

Posted in Root Canals

If you’ve been told by your dentist that you need a root canal and you’ve never had the procedure before, you will be more comfortable and be less anxious if you know what to expect.  Having a root canal has an undeserved reputation for being an unpleasant experience.  Common phrases such as “I’d rather have a root canal that to (fill in the blank)” lead people to believe that the procedure is painful or uncomfortable.

The reality is that although root canals take a little longer and are somewhat more invasive than a filling, having a root canal should not be an uncomfortable experience at all.  Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth.   In the past the injection of the anesthetic was painful for many people, but modern dentistry has developed better injection methods and topical numbing agents to reduce or eliminate pain.  As a result, there should be very little discomfort from the injection.

Dental anxiety is very common and if you have any concerns about your level of anxiety related to your root canal, talk to your dentist about sedation.  Most dentists offer some level of sedation using nitrous oxide and oral or intravenous sedatives.  The patient is conscious but may doze and time seems to pass very quickly.  For more serious cases, some dentists specialize in unsconscious sedation.

Following the procedure, your tooth may be sore for a day or two and may be sensitive to hot or cold.  The soreness can be managed with over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.  The soreness and sensitivity should go away within a few days.  If your tooth is still sore more than three or four days after the root canal, see your dentist.

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