Do root canal treatments hurt?

Root canal treatment does not cause pain, but rather relieves it. The perception of root canals hurting began decades ago when modern technology and anesthetics do not exist. Today a root canal filling can be placed without much discomfort. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients having undergone root canal treatment are more likely to describe it as “painless” than patients who have not had root canal treatment. You would see your endodontist when you experience a severe toothache, which is usually caused by inflamed or infected tissues in the tooth. A root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from inside the tooth roots and so relieves the pain that you feel. Afterwards, your tooth will no longer be sensitive to hot and cold, though it will still have sensation due to the bone and ligament that holds your tooth in the jaw. Our commitment is to make our patients feel as comfortable and relaxed during their appointment as possible.

Why can’t we just extract the tooth and place an implant?

Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option. Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth, and keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods. Endodontic treatment and post-treatment restoration is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp, and is actually usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or implant. Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate and many root canal-treated teeth last a lifetime. Through endodontic treatment, endodontist save your teeth and enable you to maintain your natural smile. If the prognosis for endodontic treatment is not favorable, then extraction followed by a dental implant may be indicated. View article for further information.

Are root canal treatments harmful?

A root canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure. Endodontic treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the damaged root canal, prevent reinfection of the tooth, and halt the spread of infection to the rest of your body.

Should I be worried about x-ray radiation?

No. X-rays are necessary during consultation and treatment, but there is nothing to worry about. We are proud to be an eco-friendly office that uses digital radiography rather than traditional film x-ray machines. Digital imaging produces levels of radiation that are up to 75% lower than conventional x-rays. The amount of radiation administered when taking x-rays during an endodontic treatment would be less than that absorbed when spending a couple hours under the sun.

What is the difference between Dental CT scan and Medical CT scan?

A dental CT scan uses different imaging equipment that gives a detailed three dimensional picture of the teeth and surrounding tissue. Additionally, medical CT scan requires emission of more x-ray and is not diagnostic for dental purposes.

What happens after treatment?

After treatment, the anesthetic will slowly wear off within the next 1-2 hours. Your jaw may be sore and lip and tongue may be numb, but it will be perfectly fine for you to go back to wrk or otherwise continue with your regular schedule. As for us, we will be sending a record of your root canal procedure to your restorative dentist. Your dentist will then decide what type of permanent restoration would be necessary to further protect your smile and to assure the tooth is adequately sealed. In the meantime, please do your best to refrain from chewing on the tooth directly to prevent any possible fractures. 

I feel no symptoms but my general dentist has referred me for a root canal treatment. Why?

There are two main kinds of bacteria that cause infection in our teeth. One of these typically cause symptoms such as cold or heat sensitivity, and the other causes no such symptoms. Therefore, there are quite a few cases of decay to the pulp requiring root canal therapy in which no symptoms are exhibited. Please see this article for more on this topic.

Complications after treatment are rare for our endodontic procedures. If any questions or concerns arise, however, please contact our office. Dr. Zoufan is available 24 hours a day at (408) 832-5133.

Modified from the American Association of Endodontics.