Root Canal Therapy
If you have been told that you need root canal therapy, you could be forgiven for feeling a knot of fear in your stomach. Root canal treatments have a reputation for being one of the most unpleasant and painful dental treatments, but thanks to evolutions in dental technologies along with advancements in pain local anesthetics, that reputation is now undeserved. In fact, many patients agree that the root canal treatment is now no more painful than any other dental procedure.
At Eric Spellman, DMD, we use the Wave One System, so patients can have their root canal treatment effectively completed in one day. Unlike traditional root canal treatments, studies show that the Wave One system destroys 99.7% of bacteria in the root canal compared to 58% in traditional techniques.
What is root canal treatment?
Teeth have several layers. The enamel, which is the outermost layer, is the hardest layer and protects the softer inner parts from damage and decay. The middle layer is known as dentin, and it is often when dentin is exposed that we suffer from tooth sensitivity. Root canal treatment is designed to treat infections within the deepest part of the tooth, an area that is known as the dental pulp.
The pulp contains channels that run from the crown of the tooth down to the bottom of the root. These channels are known as root canals. Smaller teeth may have just one root canal, but larger teeth like molars have several. The root’s canal delivers blood vessels, nutrients, and nerves that your tooth needs to remain healthy. When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, it compromises this delivery, causing your tooth to become diseased. When left untreated, a root canal infection will cause the tooth to die and fall out.
While root canal infections can result in tooth loss, if you seek treatment early, it is entirely possible to remove all traces of the infection and save your affected tooth. Some patients enquire whether they can have antibiotics as an alternative to a root canal. While antibiotics are successful in treating many different types of infections, they have proven to be ineffective in cases where the dental pulp is infected.
Symptoms of a root canal infection
A warm, moist mouth is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and dental infections are renowned for spreading quickly. Often, an infection will have taken hold before the first symptoms are noticeable. However, there are signs that could indicate that you have a root canal infection. These include:
– Sensitivity to hot/cold or sweet food or drink
– Swelling in your jaw and face
– Swelling of the gum, particularly around the affected tooth
– Pus around the affected tooth
The tooth may darken in color as it loses the nutrients and blood it needs to remain healthy
Root Canal Procedures
Traditional root canal treatments usually take place over two appointments. This is to ensure that the infection has been completely eliminated before the tooth is permanently sealed. During a traditional root canal, the dentist will drill down to the root canal and clean all bacteria from within it. Your tooth will then be covered using a temporary restoration such as a crown or filling, and you will be free to leave.
Around a week later, traditional root canals require patients to come for a second appointment to uncover the root canal again and check for signs of infection. Root canal treatments are performed using anesthetic, so you will not be in any discomfort during your appointment.
The Wave One® System
At Eric Spellman, DMD, we are committed to providing patients the most effective and pain-free treatments by offering advanced dental technology. The Wave One root canal therapy system allows patients to treat their root canal infection in one visit. Before your Wave One treatment, Dr. Eric Spellman will use a local anesthetic, so you will not feel any pain. Unlike traditional root canal treatments, Wave One uses one file to clean out and shape the canal, providing a more effective method than the traditional rotary method. This way, we are able to remove more bacteria in one treatment for less post-treatment discomfort and soreness.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of a root canal infection, timely diagnosis and treatment are essential if you wish to preserve your tooth.
Dr. Eric Spellman has extensive experience in delivering restorative dental treatments, including a root canal. To learn more about or root canal therapy systems or schedule your consultation at our Larchmont, NY office, please call our office today at (914) 315-4446.