Dental Tips Blog


Root Canals Don’t Have to Hurt…Really

Posted in Root Canals

Root canals have a bad reputation for being one of the most miserable dental procedures known to man. If you’ve told someone that you’re going to have a root canal done, chances are you’ve had another person tell you what a horrible experience they’ve had. Believe it or not, root canals don’t have to be that way. The truth is, root canals can be just like any other type of dental procedure when performed the right way.

Before your root canal is started, your dentist will numb the area of your mouth with local anesthetic. Just like a filling, anesthetic prevents you from being able to feel your dentist working on the tooth. Most likely you’ll also be given laughing gas (nitrous oxide) to help you relax even further. If you have an increased fear of dental treatment, it might even be possible for your dentist to offer some form of deeper sedation.

Keeping your mouth open for an extended period of time usually causes the greatest discomfort during root canal treatment. Some teeth have more roots than others, which makes the procedure last longer. Front teeth have one root and back teeth have either 2 or 3 roots. To minimize strain on your jaws, your dentist can offer you a rubber bite block to rest your teeth on, relaxing your jaw muscles. Especially complicated root canals may be performed by a specialist, which allows them to be completed even quicker.

You can expect your root canal to be just like any other type of dental procedure – be it a filling, crown, or even a bridge. Your dentist will focus on your comfort level first and foremost, before ever even starting your treatment! But one thing is for sure – putting your root canal off too long will hurt your smile (and your wallet!)

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554


When is a Root Canal Necessary?

Posted in Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure that can save an injured tooth.  Inside your tooth is a soft tissue called the pulp.  This tissue is necessary to feed and nourish a growing tooth, but once the tooth matures the pulp is no longer necessary for the health of the tooth.

If the tooth gets damaged by severe decay, a crack, or break, bacteria can get into the pulp and cause an infection.  This infection can be very painful and can lead to a painful abscess that will cause damage to the jawbone.  The only alternatives are to either remove the tooth or to perform a root canal procedure.

Although there are some excellent artificial teeth such as dental implants, your natural teeth are the best teeth.  Root canals may last a lifetime and are much less expensive and less invasive than removing the tooth and placing a dental implant.  Your dentist may perform the root canal procedure, or you may be referred to a dentist who specializes in root canals called an endodontist.

During a root canal, your dentist or endodontist will removed the infected pulp, clean and disinfect the root canal, then fill it with a rubber substance.  A cap is placed on top of the tooth to protect it.

Symptoms that indicate you might need a root canal include painful tooth sensitivity to hot foods and drinks, pain when biting or chewing, tooth pain that keeps you awake at night, and tooth pain that radiates to another area.


How Long Do Crowns Last?

Posted in Root Canals

If you have recently been told that you need to have tooth repair and crown work performed, you may wonder how long the repaired tooth will last when trying to decide what type of repair work to have performed.

Tooth repairs are often required after serious dental decay, or after accidents.  Depending on the type of damage, these tooth repairs may take only one or two visits to the dentist, or may require several more trips.  Patients sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier, faster, and less expensive to have the tooth pulled.

Tooth repair is designed to save the tooth, and keep your natural smile in place.  Even if this is not a visible tooth, the loss of any teeth makes it more difficult to eat, talk, and places individuals at an increased risk of developing jaw bone infections.  Tooth repair is the best option for overall health.

A properly repaired tooth often requires crown placement.  With proper care (including regular dental visits) the repaired tooth can last a lifetime.  Dental crowns that are professionally made and installed by a dentist can last up to 40 years.  It is very important to continue to see your dentist after tooth repair and crown placement, especially if a root canal has been performed.  Root canals remove the center (the pulp) of the tooth.  When this happens, the tooth is more likely to break. 

If you do not receive routine dental exams, you could develop gum disease.  Gum disease causes the gums to pull away from the tooth itself, making the tooth more vulnerable.  Even if a tooth has been repaired, routine dental exams are a necessity.

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