Root canals have always gotten a bad rap, but in reality they can be done quickly, comfortably, and can save a tooth from being extracted. Root canal therapy may be needed when the pulp tissue has been damaged by decay, bacterial invasion, deep fillings, trauma or periodontal disease. In those cases, the pulp chamber is cleaned out, disinfected and filled in (similar to filling a cavity). Dr. Irby and Dr. Williams are proficient at performing root canals on all types of teeth. Our doctors emphasize keeping the patient comfortable throughout the procedure.
No! Root canals are normally a painless procedure. Local anesthesia is used to numb the tooth. If a tooth is badly infected (e.g. when there is swelling and pain prior to the procedure) local anesthesia is not as effective. Your doctor will discuss this with you and may recommend an antibiotic for several days prior to beginning the root canal treatment.
Many dentists treat root canals, however, complex root canals due to curved or narrow roots are best treated by a root canal specialist or endodontist.
Endodontists are root canal specialists. They are often referred to for difficult root canal cases such as retreatments (2nd root canal), molar teeth, or teeth with atypical root structures.
A build up is a filling that replaces the center of the tooth. Buildups are used after root canals since the center of the tooth is removed to access the tooth’s root. Often the buildup is made of a plastic-like material called composite resin. Once the root canal and buildup are completed, a crown is usually recommended to protect the tooth from fracture and seal the tooth from bacteria.
Core buildups are similar to large fillings, except they are designed to perform well underneath a dental crown. Core buildup placement is usually performed with local anesthetic or numbing.
Core buildups are almost always necessary after a root canal. This is because the center of the tooth must be removed to access the tooth root. In cases where a crown is not recommended after the root canal, a core buildup may not be necessary. This is sometimes the case for front teeth which received a root canal but have not had decay or large fractures.