Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Root Canals

Inner Tooth Infections

A “root canal,” or pulpectomy, is a treatment for infections in the soft inner tissue of a tooth. Root Canal infections can spread into the outer areas of the tooth, causing discoloration. If left untreated, these infections will affect the health of the jaw and of other tissues which surround the tooth.

About Root Canal Therapy

Root Canals are the thin passages which run from the soft inner tissue of your tooth (pulp) to the tip of the root of your tooth. These canals may become infected in a number of ways, but most commonly are a consequence of untreated cavities. Because the canals contain nerve fibers, infections of this kind are often accompanied by varying amounts of pain.

Root canal procedures not only preserve your dental and Oral Health, but also improve the appearance of teeth which have been darkened by infection. They are likewise a preventative measure to help you to avoid costly restorations to replace a tooth lost to decay and infection.

Aren't Root Canals Painful?

Many people are concerned by the potential pain of a root canal procedure. You may be surprised to learn that modern-day Root Canal therapy is usually painless, and no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed.


Root Canal Procedure

After sufficiently numbing the area, Dr. Yurovsky creates an opening on the surface of the tooth. She then removes any decayed tissue and/or bacteria. An instrument called a root canal file is then used to remove the nerve fibers and clean out infected tissue from within the thin canals. We use magnifying equipment to assist in the procedure.

Next, the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, and supplied with initial filling material, accompanied by medications to soothe the area.

A final filling, like as those used to fix cavities, is applied to the surface of the tooth. In many cases, a crown is placed instead of a filling to provide more structural support for the tooth.

Most often, both the diagnostic exam and the root canal procedure can be completed in two office visits.

Post-Operative Instructions for Root Canals

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Post-Op Instructions
For Root Canals

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Since root canal therapy typically takes at least two appointments to complete, Dr. Yurovsky will place a temporary filling or crown over the site to protect your tooth between these two appointments.

It is common and not troublesome for small portions of your temporary filling to wear away or break off in-between appointments. However, if the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call the office to schedule a time to replace it.

Be sure that you avoid chewing for several hours if anesthesia has been used to numb your lips, gums, and tongue.  If you attempt to chew normally, injury may result in the hours after the procedure while the anesthetic is wearing off.

Pain and discomfort are normal for several days after your root canal, particularly when you chew and eat.  Over the counter pain relievers, such as Advil or Tylenol, can help to ease your discomfort. Rinsing three times a day with warm salt water will also help to lessen pain and swelling. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water, then rinse, swish, and spit until you have used the whole cup.

Please take your antibiotics as prescribed for the duration indicated, even if no signs or symptoms of an infection exist.

A few tips to protect your tooth and keep your temporary filling or crown in place:

  • Avoid sticky foods, particularly gum.
  • Avoid chewing on hard foods and substances, such as ice, fingernails, and pens.
  • If possible, try to chew on the untreated side of your mouth.
  • Brush and floss as normal.

In most cases, the final step of root canal treatment is the placement of a crown. This will protect your tooth from breaking (please see Crowns for more information).

If your bite feels uneven, your pain lasts more than a few days, or you have any other questions regarding your procedure, please call the office to schedule an appointment.