ROOT CANALS in Germantown, MD
Total Dental Care provides endodontic treatment, including root canals, in Germantown, MD. Call us today at 240-813-9111 to schedule an appointment.
Root canals are needed whenever damage or infection reaches the pulp (nerve) of a tooth. Also known as endodontic treatment, root canals have a reputation for being unpleasant, but most patients experience very little discomfort during the procedure.
When damage or decay extends to the tooth pulp, it can be quite painful. This is because the pulp is rich with nerve endings and blood vessels, making it particularly sensitive. Infection can spread to surrounding tissues, form abscesses, and even travel elsewhere in the body via the bloodstream, so prompt treatment is needed.
The goal of a root canal is to save your natural tooth and eliminate the need for extraction. When a tooth is extracted, bone loss in the jaw occurs, causing a weakened bite, shifting of adjacent teeth, and undesirable changes to facial structures. Root canals are also much more affordable than dental implants, so they should always be the first line of treatment.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A ROOT CANAL?
Prior to your root canal, we will conduct a thorough oral exam and take imaging to help us map the structure of your tooth below the gum line. This also allows us to look for infection inside the tooth and surrounding bone.
Assuming a root canal is needed, we open the tooth and remove the infected pulp. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and an antimicrobial solution is applied in order to prevent reinfection. The tooth chamber is filled with a rubber-like material to replace the removed pulp, then a dental crown, filling, inlay, or onlay is used to seal the tooth. The needed crown, filling, inlay, or onlay should be done immediately after the root canal to prevent the tooth from fracturing or becoming reinfected with bacteria.
If a crown, inlay, or onlay is needed, we’ll take impressions after the root canal is complete in order to fabricate a restoration that fits your tooth securely. In the meantime, a temporary restoration will be placed to protect the tooth from damage. You’ll return to our office in a few weeks for a second appointment in which the permanent restoration is attached to the treated tooth.
After a root canal, you can expect your tooth to be sensitive and sore for a few days, but cold compresses and over-the-counter pain medications are usually all that is needed to relieve this discomfort. You can return to work or school right away, but it will take a few days before you can return to your normal diet—hard and sticky foods should be avoided a few days after the procedure and as long as you have a temporary restoration in place.
Call 240-813-9111 to schedule your appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals
Is a root canal painful?
It’s a common misconception that root canals are painful, but these days, modern dental techniques and local anesthetic mean that getting a root canal is no more uncomfortable than getting a cavity filled. In fact, root canals are often used to relieve pain! After your root canal procedure, you may feel some sensitivity at the site, but this is usually mild.
How long does a root canal last?
Most root canals last a lifetime and your tooth never needs to be re-treated; only a small number of root canals require endodontic retreatment.
Is it better to pull a tooth or get a root canal?
If you have the option to save your tooth by getting a root canal, this is always best. If you have your tooth extracted, you’ll need to replace it in the future to prevent bone loss in the jaw. You’ll spend less time and money at our office in the long-term by getting a root canal.
What happens if you don’t get a root canal?
If you don’t get a root canal when it’s needed, eventually, your tooth will need to be extracted. You’re also likely to suffer severe tooth pain that affects your quality of life, making it difficult to eat and sleep.
Is a crown needed after a root canal?
In most cases, a crown is needed to restore a tooth after a root canal, but not always. Depending on the tooth being treated, a filling, inlay, or onlay may be sufficient.