Root Canal Therapy Can Effectively Restore a Damaged Tooth
When the pulp inside your tooth becomes severely decayed, it causes pain and swelling. If left untreated, the tooth will have to be removed, and a dental implant or dental bridge will be needed to replace it. Root canal therapy is a conservative alternative treatment that can save the tooth. Dr. Eugene Stanislaus focuses on endodontics at Brooklyn Heights Dental® and has performed root canal therapy for patients in the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Crown Heights, Manhattan, and Bedford Stuyvesant areas for over two decades. We place great importance on delivering you a smile that you can enjoy for a lifetime.
What Is a Root Canal?
When people mention the term "root canal," they are most often referring to the dental procedure in which the decayed pulp of the tooth is removed. While this is true, the root canal is also the opening in the middle of the tooth where the pulp and nerve are located and where the procedure gets its name. Endodontics deals with the pulp and root of the tooth. During the root canal procedure at Brooklyn Heights Dental, the damaged pulp of the tooth is removed to relieve pain and prevent further infection.
After Dr. Stanislaus has assessed the damage, he will administer anesthesia and place a protective shield around the tooth being treated to keep it clean and free from saliva. When the tooth and surrounding tissues are numb, Dr. Stanislaus will remove the infected tissue, unhealthy bacteria, and pulp using dental instruments with special root canal files. Once the pulp has been completely removed, Dr. Stanislaus will thoroughly clean and disinfect the area, gently reshape the tooth, and fill it with a rubber-like material known as gutta-percha. This will seal the tooth and prevent further bacteria from reentering the inner chamber. Sometimes, if the tooth needs additional support, Dr. Stanislaus will place a post inside the tooth before sealing it with a filling. In the final step, the whole tooth is covered with a dental crown.
Using the innovative CEREC® system, Dr. Stanislaus can design and place your customized dental crown all in one office visit. This state-of-the-art system uses computer-aided technology to fabricate a durable and natural-looking crown from digital impressions of your tooth. Once Dr. Stanislaus uploads the images to the CEREC system, it will design a dental crown from a single block of porcelain to blend with the natural shape, size, and color of your tooth.
Dr. Stanislaus will then place the restoration over the tooth to further reinforce its structure and restore your dental function. While the tissue surrounding the tooth may feel sensitive after the root canal treatment, discomfort is commonly treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever and will subside after a couple of days.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy
Although the term “root canal” creates immediate concern in some patients, there is no need to worry. With the advances in dental techniques and technology, root canal therapy is much like receiving a dental filling. It is also less invasive than undergoing a tooth extraction, which can require stronger sedation, sutures, and multiple follow-up visits. A tooth extraction will also require more costly and extensive restorative treatments than a root canal, such as dental bridges and dental implants.
Maintaining your natural tooth is also better for your oral health. Tooth roots are designed to stimulate the nerves within your jawbone when you bite and chew. Once tooth loss occurs, you are susceptible to jawbone deterioration and facial structure changes. Even traditional restorations, such as dental bridges, are unable to support bone health. In fact, they can even create wear on your remaining teeth.
Choosing to repair your smile with root canal therapy provides:
- Alleviated symptoms
- Improved comfort when eating, chewing, and speaking
- Better oral and physical health
- Long-lasting, natural-looking results
- Reduced chance for further treatment
- Quick and affordable treatment (most insurance companies cover at least a portion of root canal therapy)
- Restoration of the natural tooth
- Protection from further infection and damage
When Is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?
Once the tissue within the pulp chamber has been severely damaged from trauma, a deep cavity, or fracture, it is unable to be repaired with just a dental filling or dental crown. In order to prevent an extraction and save the tooth, Dr. Stanislaus will recommend root canal therapy to restore its structural integrity.
Because not all tooth infections show symptoms immediately, it is important to attend regular dental exams for early detection. Symptoms of an infected tooth can include:
- Toothache: Often severe, a toothache is the most common symptom of severe decay and infection. Pain can take various forms, though it will usually worsen when you bite and chew. In some cases, the toothache could send radiating pain across your lower face and into your ears.
- Abscesses: An abscess is a small, pus-filled sore at the tip of your dental root, which can often be quite painful.
- Swollen gums around the infected tooth
- Dental sensitivity, especially to hot and cold foods
- Halitosis: Since bacteria will be trapped inside your tooth, some patients suffer from chronic bad breath.
- Visible signs of infection
- Internal discoloration: As the soft tissue inside your tooth dies, it will darken, giving your tooth a grayish tint.
It is very important to make an appointment if you suspect that you have a tooth infection. An untreated infection in the tooth can spread to the rest of the body and lead to serious illness.
During the root canal procedure at Brooklyn Heights Dental, the damaged pulp of the tooth is removed to relieve pain and prevent further infection.
Determining Candidacy for Treatment
To confirm that root canal therapy is right for you, we will evaluate your symptoms, which involves taking x-rays of your tooth to establish the extent of dental damage. Endodontic treatment is not appropriate for everyone.
If infection has destroyed the tooth, we may need to extract the tooth, and place a dental restoration. We may also recommend extraction if you have a compromised immune system. In this case, it may be better to eliminate the bacteria as soon as possible, before it affects your overall health.
In some cases, we may recommend more conservative treatment. If bacteria has not already reached the soft inner pulp, and the cavity is small, we will typically recommend a dental filling, rather than endodontic therapy.
Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure typically requires one to three visits, depending on the amount of damage to the pulp of the tooth. Using digital x-rays and 3-D imaging technology, Dr. Stanislaus will examine your teeth and gums to determine their health. This imaging will reveal to Dr. Stanislaus the extent of decay and whether an infection is present in the tooth.
Contact Brooklyn Heights Dental®
Tooth pain getting you down? You could need endodontic root canal treatment. To learn more about your candidacy and more about the treatment, please contact the friendly staff at Brooklyn Heights Dental online, serving Fort Green and surrounding New York neighborhoods, to schedule an appointment for endodontic therapy to save the structure of your tooth. You can also reach us by calling (718) 857-6639.
"I've been very happy with my experiences at Dr. Stanislaus's office, and highly recommend him to anyone in the New York City area. He and his staff go above and beyond to do the best job possible."-R.B. (Patient)