Root Canal Therapy
n the dental universe, there isn’t a procedure more misunderstood than the root canal. Patients associate having a root canal with medieval torture, which is incredibly wrong. The truth is — root canals with Dr. Bistritz can save a tooth that would otherwise need extraction, and the procedure doesn’t involve any more pain than filling a cavity.
At Aventura Dental Center, Dr. Bistritz performs root canals, saving you the inconvenience of having to go to a separate endodontist.
What is a root canal?
Our teeth have three layers: the outer hard enamel, the dentin (also hard), and the pulp. The pulp is where you’ll find the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The pulp extends the entire length of the tooth, from the crown (top) down to the tip of the roots. The passages that run down into the roots are the “root canals.”
When decay attacks a tooth, in most cases the decay affects the enamel or the dentin layers. But when the decay penetrates the pulp, everything inside the tooth must be removed and the chamber disinfected. This is known as a root canal.
What are the symptoms that my tooth is infected?
When infection reaches the pulp of the tooth things can get ugly. Here are the symptoms associated with an infected tooth needing a root canal:
- Intense pain
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
- Tenderness to the touch and when chewing
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness of the surrounding gum tissue
- Persistent pimples on the gums
In some cases, a patient won’t yet have the above symptoms, but Dr. Bistritz can see the infection on dental x-rays during your routine cleanings and exams. The infection won’t yet have reached the nerves of the tooth.
How is a root canal performed?
A root canal will typically take two appointments with our team at Aventura. During the first appointment, we start by numbing the tooth and the surrounding area, so that you feel nothing during the procedure. Dr. Bistritz then drills a small hole in the crown of the tooth to gain access to the interior. Working through the hole, he uses small files to remove all the infected nerves, blood vessels, and other debris in the pulp cavity and down into the root canals. The now-empty tooth cavity is then flushed with water and sodium hypochlorite to remove any remaining debris and to thoroughly disinfect the interior of the tooth.
Now it’s time to fill the empty tooth. For this, a rubber-based material called gutta-percha is packed into the empty tooth. Dr. Bistritz then seals the tooth with adhesive cement, and he closes the hole with a traditional dental composite filling. In some teeth, especially smaller teeth such as the eye teeth, this is sufficient, and the procedure is finished.
But in most cases, the tooth needs to be crowned to protect it and restore strength. If the tooth needs a crown, we take impressions and send them off to a dental lab to fabricate your crown. In the meantime, Dr. Bistritz places a temporary crown. When your crown is finished, you come back in and we permanently place it. Now your tooth is good to go and should last for decades.
How much pain is involved with a root canal?
Many people fear having a root canal, as they’ve heard they are so painful. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Modern anesthesia, methods, and technology have made a root canal no more painful than having a typical filling placed in a tooth. People seem to associate the extreme pain caused by the infection with the actual root canal. When the infection has reached the tooth interior, the inflamed nerves will become extremely painful.
In the root canal, Dr. Bistritz removes all the nerves from the tooth, so it no longer has any sensation at all. After your root canal, the inflamed gums around your tooth may need a couple days to calm down, and your jaw may have a bit of soreness because it was open for a while. But this is not acute pain and is easily manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
How long will it take to recover from my root canal?
There isn’t really any recovery necessary. As mentioned, the tooth no longer has any nerve feelings in it. You can bite and chew with the tooth immediately with confidence. There may be some soreness for a day or so, but that’s about it.
Plan Your Procedure
How long will my tooth that had the root canal last?
People assume the hollowed-out tooth’s days are numbered, but that’s also a misconception. A tooth only needs the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues when it is growing. Adult teeth maintain their health from a process known as mineralization, not from the interior of the tooth. So, once the infected interior of the tooth is cleaned out and filled, the tooth can remain in place for decades.
Should I worry about infection after having a root canal?
Dr. Bistritz removes all the infected material from the pulp chamber of the tooth. He then fully sterilizes the space. There isn’t any reason to worry or even contemplate a future infection in the tooth. It can happen, but it is very rare.
Is there a case where a tooth would need extraction rather than a root canal?
The methods involved with root canals have become quite advanced, so very few teeth aren’t able to be saved with a root canal. But there are some occasions. If a tooth has such extensive decay that it compromises too much of the tooth structure, it will need extraction. This can also be true if the tooth has a severe crack, usually one that extends down below the gumline.
Read what our patients are saying!
Aventura Dental Center has the greatest staff who are experienced and caring. If you have an emergency that can't wait they will do what they can to help you. If they can't help you and your particular needs they will quickly refer you to a local doctor who can help you. This office is nice clean and has a doctor who cares about you and your needs. If your in the Aventura area and need a dentist this is the place to bring yourself and your family. All the staff are pleasant and friendly and I would recommend this practice to anyone. P.Brown
*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.