Root Canal Surgery or Therapy
Coquitlam’s Altitude Dental Clinic
Root canal surgery is required when we need to repair the damaged nerve of a tooth by removing nerves from the inner core of the tooth (the pulp chamber) and refilling the tooth to prevent bacteria from re-infecting the tooth. Altitude Dental has experience with root canal procedures.
What is a root canal?
The difference between root canal procedures and dental fillings is that the first focuses on the inside of the tooth, while fillings are about repairing the outside of the tooth with a restoration (filling). Some root canals are more complex than others as the roots may intertwine or be crowded in the mouth – those will require specialized root canal surgery.
What causes the nerve to be damaged?
Some of the causes of nerve damage are:
- A cracked tooth
- Decay that enters, or is near, the nerve chamber
- Stress (clenching and grinding)
- A large old filling
- Trauma to the jaw (i.e. a car accident)
Do I really need Root Canal Therapy?
A damaged nerve is surrounded by bacteria and inflammation; a root canal infection can be painful, and serious to your oral health if not treated. If the damaged nerve and infection is not removed, the bacteria continues to spread and often results in pain and swelling. Without treatment the tooth will continue to degrade and will need to be extracted.
What is the cost of a root canal?
The cost depends on the complexity of the root canal. Some root canal procedures are fairly straightforward – although all will take at least two visits to the dentist; others can be very complicated and may require specialist services. We will do a thorough estimate of the procedure required for your root canal and provide you, and your dental insurance provider if applicable, with the cost estimate and the recommended procedure.
What is the procedure like?
The procedure starts with the removal of decay and isolating an opening into the pulp chamber by building up missing parts of the tooth and placement of a rubber dam. The nerve or pulp is removed and the pulp chamber is cleaned and shaped. Once it is free of any debris and bacteria, the pulp chamber is refilled. A temporary filling is placed until a final restoration or crown can be custom-made and placed.
Will I have to take any medication?
Both pain medication and antibiotics are prescribed on an individual basis.
What happens to the tooth after the root canal treatment?
Once a tooth is root canalled it no longer has a blood supply running through it. This causes it to become brittle and it can more easily fracture. Most root canalled teeth require the placement of a post, a core build up and a crown (see Dental Crown Procedure page).
How long does a root canal last?
A tooth with a root canal can last for years. Teeth with root canals can decay, fracture, and gum disease can occur around them. A root canalled tooth may not feel damage so it is important to follow all home care instructions and to have regular dental visits to prevent damage from occurring. A root canal can fail and become re-infected if not taken care of properly.
What are the symptoms of a diseased tooth?
The presence or absence of pain is not the main indicator for the need of Root Canal Surgery or Therapy. We look for multiple symptoms. The most frequent indicators are:
- Oversensitivity to pressure
- Oversensitivity to hot or cold stimuli
- Achy or throbbing feeling in the jaw or by, or below, the ear
- Lingering pain
- Increasing pain when lying down
- Spontaneous pain
- A visible opening into the pulp chamber when a filling is done
- Decay entering into the pulp chamber
- X-rays show an abscess at the tip of the root
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact our office to book an appointment.