Non Surgical Root Canal & Endodontics

If you are experiencing pain related to a tooth, Dr. Kouri can determine if there is damage to the nerve within the tooth. Then a decision can be made if root canal (endodontic treatment) is needed.

Dr. Kouri will determine the complexity of the treatment, and if a specialist ( Endodontist) is the best option to perform the treatment to maximize the success and the outcome.

Dental health and root canals

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form. “Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory — to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

Why does tooth pulp need to be removed?

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:

  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, or neck.
  • Bone loss around the tip of the root.
  • Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What damages a tooth’s nerve and pulp in the first place?

A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you may need a root canal include:

  • Severe toothache upon chewing or application of pressure.
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed).
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth.
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums.
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums.

How is a root canal performed?

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. You will be able to drive home after your treatment.

How painful is a root canal?

Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.

What should one expect after the root canal?

When your root canal therapy has been completed by the Endodontist , a record of your treatment will be sent to our office. You should contact our office for a follow-up restoration within a 2-4 weeks of completion at the specialist office.

For the first few days following the completion of a root canal, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve). Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.

Until your root canal procedure is completely finished — that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown, it’s wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.

How much will root canal treatment cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. the exact cost can be detemined by the Endodontist at the time of your treatment.

How successful are root canals?

Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. 

Because the final step of the root canal procedure is the application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be obvious to onlookers that a root canal was performed.

Complications of a root canal

Despite your dentist’s best efforts to clean and seal a tooth, new infections might emerge after a root canal. The likely reasons for this include:

  • More than the normally anticipated number of root canals in a tooth (leaving one of them uncleaned)
  • An undetected crack in the root of a tooth.
  • A defective or inadequate dental restoration that has allowed bacteria to get past the restoration into the inner aspects of the tooth and recontaminate the area.
  • A breakdown of the inner sealing material over time, allowing bacteria to recontaminate the inner aspects of the tooth.

Alternatives to a root canal

Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.

The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.