Root canal therapy and endodontics can save your teeth from severe decay, extreme discomfort, and ultimate extraction. When a tooth becomes decayed or damaged, the nerves and delicate pulp inside the tooth can become infected and cause intense pain and tenderness. The main procedure associated with endodontics is a root canal, wherein the pulp chamber and canals are cleansed of the decayed organic tooth material, disinfected, and replaced with an inert filling. At Dr. Victor Oelbaum & Associates we have an experienced root canal specialist (or endodontist) on site to give patients the confidence of knowing their dental needs will be taken care of under the most qualified and specialized treatment.
- Root Canal Candidates
- Symptoms of a Tooth Infection
- Root Canal Procedure
- Root Canal Treatment Time
- Root Canal Recovery
- Root Canal Cost
- Root Canal FAQ
How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?
While persisting pain can be a primary sign of an infected tooth, patients in need of a root canal may not have any painful symptoms. It is not uncommon for an infection to present no daytime symptoms, highlighting the importance of undergoing semi-annual exams to monitor the state of your oral health.
In order to determine whether a tooth may require root canal therapy, your dentist may take an x-ray of the tooth root and/or check the dental pulp for a healthy response to stimuli. If one of our dentists discovers a tooth has been damaged and infected, a root canal may be necessary to avoid a tooth extraction. Without treatment, the infection may continue to spread to the rest of the tooth, causing bone deterioration and the eventual need for extraction. In these cases, a root canal can often be a tooth-saving procedure.
Symptoms of an Infected Tooth
In most cases, an infected tooth (or abscess) is caused by poor dental hygiene, an untreated dental injury, or bacteria buildup in the dental pulp as a result of tooth damage. Some of the most common indicators that a root canal may be necessary include:
- Throbbing gums or pain
- Pain while chewing, eating, or biting
- Sensitivity or tenderness to hot or cold
- Swelling, tenderness, or discoloration near an infected tooth
- Severe breaks, chips, or injuries to tooth
- Fever-like symptoms
Once a tooth is infected, it will never heal on its own. Left untreated, an infection can spread to your jaws as well as your head and neck. This can have potentially serious health consequences if the infection disseminates to other areas of the body. In rare cases, a growing tooth infection can even lead to hospitalization and life-threatening conditions, such as sepsis. An abscess can be very painful to live with, but a root canal is usually an effective treatment to rid the mouth of diseased tissue. This procedure maintains a very high success rate and can help alleviate the symptoms of an infected tooth.
How is a Root Canal Procedure Performed?
Our New York City dentists combine the latest in endodontic technology and techniques to perform the root canal procedure safely and comfortably. Utilizing the highest-grade dental microscopes for enhanced comfort and results, they first administer anesthetic and gently remove the infected pulp from the root canal using rotary instrumentation. If the tooth requires additional support, a post is placed in the canal and secured with dental cement. Following the removal of the infected portion of the tooth, the root canal will be filled with dental cement for strength, ultimately making way for a permanent dental crown placed over the tooth for protection. This not only protects the tooth, but also gives it a natural look and feel.
Using the OPMI® pico dental microscope, Dr. Oelbaum and our team of skilled root canal specialists are able to improve the way a root canal is performed. Many of our patients have told us this advancement helped them to overcome fears or nervousness they felt previously. This innovative piece of equipment is a necessary tool that is unfortunately not found in many other dental offices. The microscope offers a distinct advantage, as it allows Dr. Oelbaum and the endodontist to see inside the tooth at an extremely high magnification, meaning they are able to detect anomalies and variations that cannot be seen by the naked eye or the magnifying loupe traditionally used in most other dental offices. This unique ability allows our team of skilled dental professionals to provide you with a faster, more comfortable experience.
How Long Does a Root Canal Take?
A root canal can take up to 90 minutes to complete depending on whether your procedure involves retreatment of previous endodontic work. Dr. Strickman will let you know exactly what your root canal will entail according to the extent of work to be completed—most procedures can be completed in one appointment, although complex cases involving multiple infected teeth may take two visits to properly address. Rest assured that our compassionate dental team is committed to ensuring you fully understand the details of your procedure prior to treatment.
What is Recovery From a Root Canal Like?
After the root canal procedure, it is common to feel mild pain and/or tenderness in the days following treatment. This discomfort should subside naturally, but over-the-counter pain medications can help you manage any pain in the meantime. While your tooth is healing, it is essential that you avoid hard, tough, or chewy foods. Smoking during recovery is also prohibited, as it can interfere with the healing process and cause complications. Please be sure to practice good daily oral hygiene after your root canal to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. Your root canal specialist will give you more detailed after-care instructions when he meets you in person.
How Much Does a Root Canal Cost?
Depending on applicable insurance coverage, a root canal typically costs between $500 and $1,500. That said, your cost estimate will be calculated according to the specific details of your treatment plan, such as:
- The location of the affected tooth
- How many teeth require treatment
- The cost of your dental crown
Our office will be able to provide you with a more accurate figure unique to your procedure after your consultation with our endodontist, Dr. Kent Strickman. If you have out-of-pocket costs related to your treatment, Dr. Victor Oelbaum & Associates offers dental financing through CareCredit® to make expenses more manageable. Qualified patients can select from a number of low- to no-interest payment plans for the most ideal arrangement, making it possible to pursue a root canal while accommodating their unique budget. If you have any questions, a member of our office would be happy to discuss our payment options with you.
Additional Root Canal FAQs
Will my root canal hurt?
Today’s innovative dental technology is designed to provide you with safe, effective, and comfortable care. Our OPMI® pico dental microscope allows our root canal specialists to minimize the duration of your procedure while simultaneously maximizing your comfort. Most of our patients tell us they experienced no pain during their root canal procedure.
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is an ADA-recognized dental specialty that focuses on the tissue and nerves that surround the root and pulp of a tooth. Every tooth contains a nourishing pulp center of blood vessels, nerves, and lymph vessels protected by a hard external shell. The vessels and nerves connect to the rest of the body’s systems by way of a canal running through the tooth’s root. This acts as a conduit for sensory signals.
Can my root canal procedure be completed in one office visit?
Thanks to our state-of-the-art technology, the majority of root canal procedures can be performed in one sitting. However, some patients may require multiple visits, depending upon the number of affected teeth and the severity of the condition.
Will I be able to safely drive myself home?
Local anesthetics do not affect one’s ability to drive and the effects of nitrous oxide only last a few moments after treatment is complete. Whether your dentist decides that a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide is best for your comfort during the procedure, you should be able to drive yourself home safely.
Are there any medications I have to take after my procedure?
Depending upon your needs, you will likely be prescribed an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. In addition, an oral pain medication can be used to easily manage any discomfort you may experience after your procedure.
What Sets Us Apart
Our specialists can perform root canal therapy and crown placement right here under one roof, without having to refer you to another practice, making the process more convenient and efficient. Our goal is to prevent further damage from decaying teeth with results that look terrific! Please contact Dr. Victor Oelbaum & Associates for further details on root canal therapy, emergency dentistry, and tooth pain relief. Our team will be happy to answer your questions.