If you have an infected tooth, cracked tooth or tooth pain, you may require a root canal procedure. Chesapeake dentist, Dr. John Cranham, performs most root canal procedures in our office. A limited number of root canal procedures are referred to a local endodontist.
What is a root canal?
The term root canal actually refers to the area inside of the tooth that contains the tooth pulp including nerves and other sensitive tissue. Most patients, however, use the term root canal as a general reference to a root canal procedure where the tooth is treated for disease or decay.
What is an endodontist?
The term endodontics comes from the Greek endo, meaning inside, and odors, meaning tooth. Endodontics is one of nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. An endodontist is someone who performs a variety of procedures including root canal therapy.
Root Canal Symptoms
Many patients do not experience any symptoms that would indicate the need for a root canal procedure. Other patients, however, may experience painful symptoms including:
- Severe toothache or tooth pain, particularly when chewing or biting
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold foods and drinks
- Discoloration of the tooth (darkening)
- Soreness or tenderness to the gums surrounding the affected tooth
About the Root Canal Procedure
The goal of the endodontist in root canal therapy is to remove all infected tissue from the inside of the tooth and then fill the tooth to prevent further infection.
The endodontist will drill a small hole into the tooth, allowing access to the tooth pulp. The infected tissue and damaged nerve will be removed and the root canal will be throughly cleaned and polished. Antibiotics may be prescribed, if infection is found, and the tooth will be temporarily sealed until the infection has healed.
Once the infection is clear and the root canal is free of debris, it will be filled with a biocompatible rubber compound called gutta percha. The tooth will then be covered either a dental filling or dental crown to add strength and protect it from future damage.
Root Canal FAQs
Does a root canal hurt?
The pain from a root canal actually comes from the infection itself. The root canal procedure will provide relief from that pain and start the healing process. A root canal procedure feels similar to having a dental filling placed. Dr. Cranham offers sedation dentistry options to patients to help them be more relaxed during their treatment.
What if I don’t have the root canal treatment?
The alternative to root canal treatment is a tooth extraction. When considering a root canal vs extraction, it is important to remember that once a tooth is lost, the replacement options become more difficult and complicated. Dr. Cranham generally supports the choice to conserve the natural tooth. During your consultation and examination, he will help you to make the best choice for your long term health and happiness.
What does a root canal cost?
The cost of root canal procedures depends on your specific circumstances. We accept most dental insurance and can submit claims on your behalf. We also offer flexible payment options to help you cover the root canal cost.
Schedule an Appointment
To learn more about root canal treatment, contact our Chesapeake dentist office for a consultation with local dentist Dr. John Cranham.
Call our Chesapeake Dentist Office at 757-656-4109 or schedule your next appointment online.