Are you experiencing a painful toothache, dental abscess, darkening enamel, or broken tooth? Endodontic treatment may be the only option left to save your natural tooth and keep it lasting for years to come. Also known as a “root canal,” endodontic therapy involves treating the inner nerve chamber of your tooth to eliminate recurrent (and often painful) infections. Root canals are frequently considered to be the last line of defense when it comes to restoring and preserving natural teeth.
Symptoms of an Infected Tooth
How can you know whether or not you need a root canal? According to the American Association of Endodontists, common symptoms of teeth with nerve damage include:
Pain or history of injury
Increased sensitivity to hot or cold
Facial or oral swelling
Pain when chewing
A dislodged (avulsed or “knocked out”) tooth
Evidence of large areas of tooth decay
Recurrent abscesses visible on the gums or x-rays
Treating the tooth from the inside out can allow your tooth to continue functioning for many more years down the road.
The Root Canal Treatment
During a root canal, the inner nerve chamber of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and all infected tissues are removed. The chamber is then medicated and sealed off to prevent any reinfection or bacteria from reentering the inside of the tooth.
Following a root canal, it is recommended that you have a crown placed over the tooth. Crowns help protect the weaker, more brittle enamel that is no longer “vital” due to removal of the nerve. This prevents the enamel from unnecessarily wearing down.
What is an Endodontist?
When you get a root canal, you can either see your general family dentist or an endodontist. Endodontists are root canal specialists, with an additional two to three years of education and training in the management and treatment of complex dental nerve tissues.
Although your general dentist may be comfortable treating your tooth with a root canal, this may be one of those situations where it’s better to see a specialist. Here’s why:
Some Teeth Are More Difficult to Treat
Depending on the tooth that is being treated, there may be anywhere from one to multiple roots involved. The more roots there are, the more room there is for complexity and length of treatment. For instance, some roots are curved, making them more difficult to access. If the affected tooth is located far back in the mouth, there may be greater physical demands on the part of the dentist who is treating it. This can make the root canal more difficult to complete, assuming no unforeseen complications occur in the course of the visit.
A Specialist Has the Tools to Perform the Procedure More Efficiently
Endodontic specialists perform root canal treatments day after day—it’s something they invest all their time and efforts in, and they’re experts at it.
Not only that, but an endodontist has advanced tools and equipment a general dentist usually does not. For example, special microscopes used for root canals allow the endodontist to carefully assess the entire surface of the inner nerve chamber and more accurately remove areas of infected tissues.
Re-treatments can be Tricky
If you’ve had a root canal in the past, but there is a recurrent infection, you may need to have the tooth re-treated. Re-treatments prevent the need to have the tooth pulled and losing it altogether. However, re-treatments can be very tricky and most general dentists do not have the necessary equipment or practice to offer this service on a day-to-day basis.
Will it Hurt to Get a Root Canal?
One of the most common misconceptions people have about endodontic treatment is that getting a root canal has to hurt. Not so! In fact, seeing an endodontist can make the process faster and more comfortable than expected.
Getting a root canal is similar to other types of dental treatment, such as having a filling or crown made. The area around the tooth is thoroughly numbed, and our endodontist will carefully monitor your comfort throughout the entire procedure. But if you are nervous about the way it will feel – just request sedation! Conscious oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and IV sedation are excellent options when you just want to “nap” through the entire visit and get everything over with at once.
The Cost Comparison: Endodontists vs. Family Dentists
If the cost of your treatment a concern? It’s true that going to a specialist office is usually more expensive than having your treatment performed in a family dental practice. Fortunately for our patients at Grand Parkway Smiles, we are a comprehensive family dentist office with a board-eligible endodontist on staff. Not only does this make it more affordable for our patients to access specialist-level care, it also enables us to complete all your treatment in one convenient location. That’s right—you get the best of both worlds!
Comfortable Root Canals in Richmond, TX
Are you looking for a specialist that can comfortably treat your abscessed or broken tooth with a root canal? Dr. Sara Gomez of Grand Parkway Smiles Family Dentistry is a board-eligible endodontist in Richmond, TX. Our family practice provides comprehensive dental care to patients of all ages, but our specialty providers allow us to provide more extensive and complex therapy options such as root canals and endodontic re-treatments.
Delaying your root canal treatment is one of the most common causes of dental emergencies, toothaches, and infection of the adjacent teeth. If you’re looking for a comfortable root canal treatment, we invite you to schedule a visit with our endodontist in Richmond, TX. Grand Parkway Smiles is always accepting new patients. We look forward to hearing from you! Be sure to ask about our affordable payment plans.