Everyone has heard of a root canal, but many people may not understand exactly what it is.
We offer our patients at Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry root canal therapy in order to save a tooth that is decayed on the inside down to the root. When a tooth is in this condition, the options are root canal or losing the tooth. Root canal therapy cleans out the dead tissue and replaces it with dental material so that the tooth can remain in the mouth and function normally.
Today’s technology makes the root canal procedure more efficient and more comfortable than ever before.
The procedure always begins with the administration of some form of anesthesia. Root canal removes infection and eliminates toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages, and pain and discomfort that are caused by the infection in the tooth. The procedure itself is not painful. Root canal begins with a small hole being drilled into the tooth that is to be treated, which allows access to the inside of the tooth.
The tissue inside of the tooth is called pulp. The pulp is removed during a root canal, and then the entire area is cleaned and sanitized. The tooth is then filled with a biocompatible material; usually a rubbery material called gutta-percha is used. The hole in the tooth that was made is usually filled with a temporary crown or filling at the same appointment. At a second appointment, a dental crown is applied to restore the outside of the tooth.
“My root canal with Dr. Whitman was so simple and painless. I had a lot of anxiety before the procedure, but Dr. Whitman and her team made me feel right at home and comfortable throughout the process.”
— Victoria, Leesburg, VA
Upon learning she needed a root canal for a cavity that had been progressing for some time, Victoria was anxious. “I didn’t know the cavity was there, and by the time I scheduled an appointment and Dr. Whitman found it, it was too late.”
Fortunately, Victoria’s tooth didn’t need an extraction—root canal therapy could clean and seal the chamber of the tooth that had been affected by extensive decay, leaving t intact. “Dr. Whitman was so knowledgeable and reassuring, she explained the entire process and assured me that the procedure would be comfortable.”
On the day of her appointment, Victoria arrived with some anxiety still, but says the staff at Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry helped her immensely. “Everyone was so accommodating and answered all my questions. Dr. Whitman kept me informed throughout the procedure and made me feel safe.”
Victoria’s tooth is finally healed, and she says the discomfort after her root canal was minimal. “I love coming to see Dr. Whitman, and I’m so happy she was able to save my tooth!”
After a root canal procedure, the treated tooth may be sensitive or feel different than the other teeth for a few days. Discomfort or minor pain can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. If you feel excessive pain or pressure after root canal therapy, you should contact Dr. Whitman. In rare cases, a tooth that has been treated with root canal therapy may require a second procedure. This can happen if some of the canals in the roots were too narrow to be cleaned thoroughly, or if a new infection occurs. If root canal fails to restore the tooth to full function, the tooth can be extracted and replaced with an implant or another type of tooth replacement.
When you have a tooth that needs root canal in order to preserve it, the decision between root canal or extraction and replacement is ultimately yours to make. Dr. Whitman can give you advice based on your overall dental health and help you make an informed decision.