The term ‘root canal’ often brings a sense of anxiety to many, but at the office of Steven C. Hewett, DDS in Champions Gate, FL, we want to assure you that root canal therapy is a routine and efficient way to save teeth that might otherwise be lost to infection or decay. And our sedation dentistry makes it a positive and low-stress experience. Let’s talk about what to expect from root canal treatment, including how long it takes, preparation steps, and the overall importance of this tooth-saving treatment.
How Long Does Root Canal Therapy Take?
The time required for a root canal treatment can vary depending on several factors. Typically, a treatment is completed in one to three visits to our office, with each session lasting between 30 minutes to two hours. It all depends on the complexity of the root structure, the severity of the infection, and the type of tooth involved. Anterior teeth, which have a single root, usually require less time, while molars, with their multiple roots, may need more extensive work.
Factors Influencing Your Procedure Timeline
Anatomy of the Tooth
Some teeth simply have more complex root systems that require additional time to thoroughly clean and seal.
Severity of Infection
An extensive infection might require extra appointments to ensure that the infection is completely cleared.
The type and complexity of the restoration that will be placed on the tooth after the root canal can also affect the number of visits you’ll need to fully address the issue.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
Root canal therapy is recommended for patients who have a tooth with a diseased or damaged pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. Signs that you might need a root canal include severe toothache, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, and discoloration of the tooth. Swelling and drainage can also be indicators of pulp infection.
Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment
While a root canal is a preferred method to save a natural tooth, alternatives do exist, such as tooth extraction followed by an implant or bridge. However, these options can be more costly and require more extensive dental work. We always aim to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible, as it often results in better long-term outcomes for your oral health.
Preparing for a Root Canal
It all starts with a thorough examination, including X-rays, to assess the extent of decay or damage.
If an infection is present, we may prescribe antibiotics before the treatment to reduce the inflammation and infection.
For those who experience anxiety, we offer sedation dentistry to make the experience as comfortable as possible.
The Importance of Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry plays a crucial role in the field of endodontics. It offers a way for patients to undergo root canal treatments with minimal discomfort. The right level of sedation will be tailored to your needs to ensure you have the most comfortable experience possible, and minimal sedation allows most people to not even remember the experience. Procedures also seem to go more quickly when you’re sedated, and those who are sedated tend to suffer fewer side effects. We can often get more done in a single visit with sedation, too. You will need to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after sedation dentistry, however.
What Happens During a Root Canal?
Once you’ve been sedated, a root canal treatment begins with the administration of a local anesthetic to ensure you feel no discomfort during the treatment. The affected tooth is isolated, and an opening is made to allow access to the pulp chamber and root canals. We carefully remove infected or inflamed pulp, and the inner tooth canals are carefully cleaned. These spaces are then shaped to receive a filling. The filling material, usually a substance called gutta-percha, is placed within the canals to seal them off from any further infection. The final step of the treatment involves the restoration of the tooth, often with a crown, to restore its full function and appearance.
Following your root canal treatment, some sensitivity in the treated area is normal and should subside as the inflammation diminishes. We encourage diligent oral hygiene, and be sure to take any prescribed medications to prevent infection and promote healing. It’s also important to minimize chewing on the affected tooth until it’s fully restored to avoid any undue pressure that could compromise the temporary filling.
The Advantages of Preserving Natural Teeth
The overarching benefit of root canal treatment is the preservation of your natural tooth. A successfully treated and restored tooth can function just like any other tooth, allowing you to enjoy a wide variety of foods without discomfort. Aesthetically, modern dental materials and techniques enable the seamless integration of the restoration with your natural teeth, maintaining the integrity of your smile. Furthermore, saving a natural tooth helps maintain the alignment of surrounding teeth and prevents the jawbone from deteriorating, which can occur when teeth are missing.
Partnering with the Right Dental Professional
The success of a root canal treatment, or any dental treatment, depends a great deal on the expertise of the dental professionals involved. Our team, led by Dr. Hewett, is not only proficient in therapy but also specializes in sedation dentistry, ensuring that your experience is as comfortable as possible. Dr. Hewett is a leader in implant and reconstructive dentistry, and is Central Florida’s Premier Expert Implant Specialist.
Enjoy the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry for Your Root Canal Therapy
The thought of a root canal treatment can cause anxiety, but understanding the process can ease your mind. This treatment is a small investment in the long-term health and functionality of your natural tooth. At the same time, your comfort and well-being are our highest priorities, and we are committed to providing you with a positive and successful root canal experience. To learn more about how sedation can make for a more positive experience, or to see if you need a root canal, call the office of Steven C. Hewett, DDS in Champions Gate, FL at 407-743-6691 today.