Does having a root canal hurt?
The short answer is no. Pain relief is the driving force behind our practice. Without question, pain is the primary reason one seeks dental care to begin with. Our goal is to eliminate pain. In fact, root canal therapy is used to relieve tooth pain. With the use of modern anesthetics (Novocain-like), advanced numbing techniques and a better understanding of root canal biology, there is usually no discomfort. Nitrous oxide gas is not used. You are not “put out” or sedated. Most people resume normal activities, such as work, following their appointments. For more information, visit our Procedures page.
How long does it take?
Root canal therapy is usually performed in one or two appointments. More complex teeth may require more time. On average, the actual treatment time is approximately 45 minutes. Please allow at least one hour per appointment.
What are the alternatives?
Once indicated, the only other option to root canal therapy is having the tooth extracted. Avoiding treatment puts you at risk for further pain and spread of infection, as well as ultimately losing the tooth.
Am I going to have a dead tooth?
With the inner most nerves and blood vessels (or pulp) removed, there is a common misbelief that the tooth is now dead. Technically the tooth is considered non-vital, meaning that the pulp has either ceased to function or has been removed. The tooth is actually kept alive by nerves and blood vessels on the outside of the tooth. Think of your fingernails. The outer layers are “dead” right? You can trim, cut or even bite them. But flip a nail backward and you’ll be saying, “Oh my, it’s alive!” The tooth is just like this but only in reverse. Inside it’s not alive, however outside its “alive and kicking.”
What is the tooth filled with?
Once pulp has been removed and the canal system has been cleaned, shaped and disinfected, it is filled. What is used for fillings has evolved over the years. (Bronze wires were used as fillings in Third Century B.C. followed by the use of gold foil, lead powder and even English Sparrow droppings.) In the mid 1800’s, Gutta Percha — an inert form of rubber — was introduced as the primary filling material. Today Gutta Percha is still used but only as a bulk filling material. The canals are actually filled and sealed with special biocompatible cement sealers. Extensively studied, these sealers enhance healing and can fill the micro pores of dentin tubules preventing leakage or spread of infection. No metals or Mercury type fillings are used.
How long does a root canal last?
Root canal therapy is considered a definitive procedure without a specific expiration date. Once the tooth heals generally it stays healed. However; over time should a new cavity form or if the filling or crown should leak, the root canal space could become re-infected. If this should happen, the root canal may require retreatment. Dental health for a lifetime requires dental care throughout one’s lifetime. Just like all teeth, a tooth treated with a root canal requires daily brushing, flossing, periodic examinations and routine care.
I wasn’t referred to Dr. Moyer by my dentist. Can I still be seen?
Yes. Referrals to our office come from many sources. Although primarily our referrals are from one’s dentist, we receive many referrals from friends, relatives, co-workers, past patients, Physicians, Chiropractors, and Pharmacists. We are here to provide outstanding endodontic care. Let us be of service.
What can I expect after having a root canal?
For most people, they are able to resume normal activities after their treatment. You can eat and drink when you desire, just make sure to take care to avoid biting your cheek or tongue while you are still numb. Download the Home Care Instructions for complete information.
Before I make an appointment how can I find out what insurance you accept?
The Dental Insurance and Financial Policies FAQ provides a helpful list of frequently asked questions regarding payment and insurance. You may also want to visit our Financial Information page.
I have other questions, I’m not sure this is for me. What should I do?
We do not live in a one size fits everyone world. Each individual requires an individual evaluation and treatment recommendation. This includes having no treatment or having a tooth extracted. We would suggest a consultation appointment where, following an examination, we can discuss what is the best treatment for you. Any further questions can be addressed at that time.
There is no obligation to have treatment performed at that time.