A root canal is a dental procedure used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding your tooth will ultimately become infected and abscesses may form, causing even more pain and discomfort. During a root canal procedure, your tooth’s nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. By removing the tooth’s nerve (which is not necessary to a tooth’s health after it has fully emerged from your gums), we remove its ability to function as a sensory, which means you will feel no more pain.
The only alternative to a root canal surgery is to have the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture.
Contact Comprehensive Dental Health, LLC at 203-624-5515 if you concerned that you may need a root canal.
What are the signs that you may need a root canal?
Your tooth’s nerve and pulp can become infected (requiring a root canal) because of deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth (making it easier for bacteria to get inside your tooth), or a crack or chip in the tooth.
When your tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged (due to decay, a crack, etc), it breaks down and bacteria is ultimately able to grow. The bacteria can cause an infection or an abscess, a pus-filled pocket that forms at the roots of the tooth.
It is entirely possible to need a root canal and not actually suffer any symptoms, but usually the warning signs that you may need a root canal include:
- Severe pain
- Extreme sensitivity/pain to temperatures (even after the hot or cold has been removed)
- Tooth discoloration
- Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
What happens during a root canal?
We know that a root canal is probably one of the most dreaded dental procedures, and at Comprehensive Dental Health, LLC, we want to make sure that all patients requiring a root canal are as comfortable and pain free as possible during the procedure. Most of our patients report that the procedure itself is no more painful than getting a filling!
Your root canal surgery will be performed by Dr. Joseph Tagliarini and typically requires only one visit to our New Haven office, although it might require multiple visits depending on how bad the damage is.
Step One: The first step in the root canal procedure is to take an X-ray, allowing us to see the shape of the root canals and ensure there are no signs of infection in the surrounding bone. We will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth.
Step Two: An access hole will be drilled into the tooth. You might feel some pressure, but the anesthesia will prevent you from feeling anything other than mild discomfort. The damaged pulp, the decayed nerve tissue and any bacteria, is removed through this access hole. In order to ensure your root canal is 100% clean (so no more bacteria can grow), our dentist will use a series of root canal files to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canal and will periodically rinse your root canal with disinfectant to flush out all the debris and bacteria.
Step Three: Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed. Some of our patients have to wait a week or so before sealing the tooth (hence the need for another visit), especially if there is infection that needs to be taken care of. If you need to come back in for a second appointment, a temporary filling is placed in the access hole to keep out contaminants like food and bacteria. Most of our patients will have their tooth sealed the same day it is cleaned out.
To fill the interior of the tooth and replace the removed nerve and pulp, a sealer paste and a rubber compound is placed into your tooth’s root canal, what Dr. Joseph Tagliarini calls a “biologic cork.” The access hole is filled in with a filling.
Step Four: Typically, a tooth that needs a root canal is one that has a large filling or extensive decay. This might mean that some kind of dental restoration procedure (like a crown) will be used to protect your tooth from further damage or breaking.
How much does a root canal cost?
Many dental insurance policies cover endodontic treatment, but it is important to check with your insurance provider beforehand.
Contact Comprehensive Dental Health, LLC at 203-624-5515 and speak with one of our team members to learn more about root canal surgery in New Haven, Connecticut.