Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canals, and Dr. Morio and the team at Apex Endodontics are root canal specialists. The most common procedure performed by our practice is the root canal, an endodontic therapy that eliminates infection in an affected tooth and protects it from future infection so that you can avoid an extraction. Root canals are minimally invasive and have a very high degree of success. Family dentists, endodontists, and oral surgeons are the most qualified providers to evaluate your condition and determine if the best course of treatment is a root canal procedure.
To describe how a root canal works, it’s important to understand the nature of dental pulp. Dental pulp is the soft tissue located inside a tooth that contains the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and reparative cells. If this tissue becomes inflamed or infected, you are at risk of losing that tooth if it does not receive treatment. During your root canal treatment at Apex Endodontics, we will ensure that you are comfortable by administering the anesthesia that you chose during your pre-treatment consultation with the doctor. Next, Dr. Morio will remove the pulp inside the canal of your tooth root, carefully clean and disinfect the inside of your tooth, and seal it closed with a special type of filling. After your root canal treatment, your tooth will be cleared of infection and associated pain and will function normally.
It’s possible that additional work from your general dentist will be required to create and place a crown or other restoration on your tooth so that it is protected further and completely restored to full chewing function. Endodontists often work hand in hand with dentists to complete your treatment. We may prescribe medications to help control any lingering sensitivity in the treated tooth, but we find that our root canal patients do very well with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen. In some cases, you may be prescribed an antibiotic to clear up an infection before your root canal procedure. We will go over every detail of your treatment with you before any procedures take place.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment can save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. Whether your tooth has been damaged by infection in the dental pulp from deep decay or you’ve suffered an injury to the tooth, the goal of endodontics is to save your natural tooth and preserve it for a lifetime. A root canal can not only preserve a natural tooth that has been damaged, saving you from the expense and discomfort of tooth restorations such as dental implants, but it will also end any pain associated with that tooth.
Sometimes, there are no symptoms when a tooth requires root canal treatment, but if you are experiencing any of the following, it is important to seek the care of your dental provider as soon as possible for an examination and an X-ray to determine if root canal treatment is the next step. Prompt treatment is crucial for avoiding abscesses or further damage to the tooth that may make a successful root canal more difficult.
These signs indicate the need for root canal treatment:
- Sudden, intense tooth pain
- Sensitivity in a tooth to heat or cold
- Tooth tenderness when chewing or applying pressure to tooth
- Discoloration of the affected tooth
- Swelling, drainage, and tenderness in the lymph nodes and/or nearby oral tissues
Please note: If you experience a dental or facial injury, be sure to contact your oral surgeon, or head to the emergency room for treatment if your injuries are severe.
Some patients delay having a much-needed root canal because they have dental anxiety. We want you to know that our team works hard to keep our patients comfortable and relaxed during their time with us. We have the training and skill to minimize anxiety and discomfort with various anesthesia options, including local anesthesia combined with nitrous oxide analgesia, which puts patients in a calm but conscious state, or IV sedation, which puts patients into a sleep-like state so that they are not consciously aware of the procedure taking place. If it is decided that IV sedation is the best option for you during your root canal procedure, we partner with a nearby oral surgery practice to administer your IV sedation and perform your procedure in their safe and calm office. At this location, you will receive continuous monitoring by team members trained in caring for patients under IV anesthesia while your specialist, Dr. Kimberly Morio, performs your procedure.
Root Canal Retreatment
With proper care, teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime, but occasionally, a tooth which has had root canal therapy in the past may not have healed properly or may become reinfected. In these cases, your tooth has a second chance! Root canal retreatment of the affected tooth to avoid extraction is a common procedure we perform at Apex Endodontics — we are all about saving your natural tooth!
Additional treatment after an initial root canal may be required for several reasons:
- The root canal system is quite complex; all the canals may not have been treated during the initial procedure.
- The placement of the crown or other restoration was delayed following the endodontic treatment.
- The restoration did not prevent contamination to the inside of the tooth.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an experienced endodontist about retreatment to heal and save your tooth. Usually, root canal retreatment is the last resort before extraction of the tooth, which will then require restoration with an implant, bridge, or removable partial denture to restore your oral function and smile. Natural teeth are best, so we work hard to preserve them!
When you visit our practice for root canal retreatment, Dr. Morio will discuss your treatment options. If retreatment is chosen as your best option, Dr. Morio will reopen your affected tooth to remove the restorative materials that were used in your initial procedure so that she can gain access to your tooth’s canals. Some of the materials that will be removed may include a crown, post, and core material. Next, Dr. Morio will carefully clean the canals and examine the inside of your tooth to locate the areas that require treatment. After the retreatment procedure, your tooth will be sealed with a temporary filling, and you will then need to return to your dentist as soon as possible to receive a new crown or other restoration so that your tooth is returned to its full function in your mouth. If the canals in your tooth are blocked or have an unusually complicated structure, Dr. Morio may want to perform endodontic surgery. This surgery is a delicate oral procedure on the tip of the root of a tooth.
Root Canal FAQ
Can a general dentist save my tooth?
Endodontic specialists complete a minimum of two additional years of training beyond dental school to become experts in saving teeth. This additional training focuses on diagnosing and treating tooth pain caused by pulp inflammation or infection and performing root canal treatment and other procedures such as root canal retreatment and endodontic microsurgery (otherwise know as apicoectomy). If you want the very best chance to save your tooth, see an experienced endodontist.
My tooth isn’t bothering me — why do I need a root canal?
Some patients never experience pain with an infected tooth — in these cases, root canal infection is discovered through routine X-rays or a clinical examination. Once the infection is discovered, a root canal treatment will disinfect the inside of the tooth to stop the spread of infection so that you can keep your natural tooth.
Why not extract the tooth and replace it with an implant or a bridge?
Saving your natural tooth with root canal treatment is the very best option. Root canals have a very high success rate, and teeth treated in this way can last a lifetime. Furthermore, root canals are usually much less expensive than extraction and restoration with a dental implant or bridge. If your dentist recommends extraction, ask him/her if your tooth could be a candidate for root canal treatment by a skilled endodontist.
Is a root canal painful?
Endodontic procedures are performed to get patients out of the discomfort that can be associated with inflammation or infection inside a tooth, so keeping you out of pain is one of our specialties! Dr. Morio uses modern techniques to make sure you’re comfortable throughout your procedure. Your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days after your root canal procedure, especially if there was pain or infection before your treatment. We find that this sensitivity is well controlled with over-the-counter medications such as Advil® or Tylenol®. If needed, prescription medications are available from your endodontist. If you experience pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days after your root canal treatment, please call our office so that we can take care of you.
How long does a root canal take?
While the amount of time a procedure takes will depend on your individual case, your time in the office for your root canal procedure will typically last about 1–2 hours. Usually, the treatment can be completed in one visit, but sometimes a second appointment is required.
Is endodontic treatment expensive?
Saving your tooth through endodontic treatment is more cost-effective and less invasive and uncomfortable than an extraction and a restoration with a bridge or dental implant. Our staff will provide you with an estimate of your cost when you come to the office to meet with Dr. Morio for your consultation. We accept various types of insurance and will be happy to submit your claims for you.
It is our privilege to offer you the best endodontic care possible, so please feel free to contact us today at (319) 449-0021 with your questions. One of our knowledgeable staff members will be happy to speak with you.
Root Canal Treatment in Hiawatha, IA
The team at Apex Endodontics is proud to provide the best endodontic care to patients of all ages in Hiawatha, IA, and the surrounding areas. We are dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy, functioning natural tooth for many years to come. If you require endodontic treatment, please give us a call to schedule an appointment in our welcoming, state-of-the-art endodontics practice. Let’s save your natural tooth!