Root Canal Therapy

Whole Dental Wellness

Saving your natural tooth.

Have you been told that you need a root canal? If so, don’t worry. We are here to help you every step of the way. Root canal treatment is a common and straightforward procedure to relieve dental pain and save your tooth. Millions of teeth are successfully treated every year with root canal therapy. Typically a root canal is needed when there is inflammation or infection inside the roots of a tooth. If deemed necessary, one of our root canal experts will:

  • Carefully remove the pulp inside the tooth
  • Clean and disinfect the area
  • Shape the root canal(s)
  • Place a temporary filling to seal the space

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Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment. To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth.

Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, connective tissue and builds the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.

The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth down to the tip of the roots. While the pulp is very important during a tooth’s growth and development, once fully formed, a tooth can survive without it because the tooth continues to be nourished by the other surrounding tissues.

Root canal treatment is a common and straightforward procedure and millions of teeth are successfully treated every year.

Why would I need an endodontic procedure?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The most common cause of infection is bacteria finding its way inside the tooth through:

  • Deep decay
  • Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
  • Shrinkage or breakage of an existing filling
  • A crack or chip in the tooth

Sometimes it can be surprising to learn that you have an infected pulp because it is not always so visible. Tiny hairline cracks in our teeth (from chewing hard foods or trauma) may be invisible to the naked eye but are large enough for bacteria to pass. Once the pulp is infected, it cannot heal on its own. If it is determined your pulp is infected, we must act quickly! Choosing to ignore the signs of infected pulp results in a chronic, active bacterial infection, which can grow into an abscess and even spread to nearby teeth.

If you are not sure if you need a root canal, contact Whole Dental Wellness today to set up a free consultation with our dental specialists to get all your questions answered.

What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?

Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms, which is just another reason that regular dental visits are so important.

  • Pain
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Foul taste
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Pain while chewing
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as neighboring bone and gum tissues

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

The pulp will not heal on its own and ignoring it will only cause more problems. At whole dental wellness, we believe in saving teeth so extraction is always our last option. If endodontic treatment is chosen, we will remove the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully clean and shape the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, we will place a crown or filling on the tooth to protect and seal it, restoring it to full function.

When the pulp of a tooth becomes infected, there are only two options:

  1. Save the tooth by completing a root canal and then restoring it with a crown or filling
  2. Extract the tooth

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.

There is a misconception that root canal therapy is painful, when in fact we are relieving the pain caused by a brewing bacterial infection. We will always ensure you are comfortably numb before starting the treatment. We also offer conscious sedation options to further your relaxation, including nitrous oxide or laughing gas, and prescribed relaxant pills, if needed. Remember that while the infection that brought you into our office can be extremely painful, the endodontic procedure is meant to relieve it. For the first few days after treatment, it is normal for your tooth to feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can typically be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Will my tooth need further care to stay healthy and pain-free?

After your root canal, we recommend you treat the area with caution for a few days. Before the crown or filling is placed to seal and protect it, your tooth is susceptible to fracture. To prevent this, we recommend sticking to a soft food diet to minimize chewing in the area.

After the crown or filling has been placed, your endodontically treated tooth should last as long as your other natural teeth. Failure of the endodontic treatment is rare but does occur. If this occurs it is likely because bacteria traveled from the main root into one of the tiny branches that stem from the root, causing problems. Additional treatment will then be needed.

Can all teeth be treated endodontically?

Most teeth can be treated. In rare cases, a tooth cannot be saved due to:

  • Inadequate bone support
  • Root fracture
  • Tooth cannot be restored (usually due to deep decay)

However, advances in endodontics are making it possible to save teeth that even a few years ago would have been lost. When endodontic treatment is not effective, endodontic surgery may be able to save the tooth.

At Whole Dental Wellness we believe in saving teeth whenever possible. Extraction is always our last resort.

Did you know that, with proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as natural teeth?

However, we can’t control how your body heals so like everything in medicine, nothing is 100%. In some cases, the affected tooth may not heal properly or your pain may continue following root canal treatment. This can happen immediately or take months, or sometimes even years following the initial root canal. If this is the case, a root canal retreatment may provide you an option to save your sick tooth.

What happens during retreatment?

After ensuring you are comfortably numb, your specialist will reopen your tooth to gain access to the root canal filling material. In most cases, this involves removing your existing filling or crown to allow us access to the canals within your tooth roots.

Next, our specialist will clean the canals and carefully examine the inside of your tooth, paying special attention to any hidden canals or unusual anatomy that may require treatment. After thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the canal, we will fill and seal the canals and place a temporary filling in your tooth. We will schedule a second visit for you with one of our general dentists shortly after this appointment to have a new crown or other restoration placed. It is critical to have this new restoration placed within a few weeks of retreatment to seal and protect the tooth, restoring it to full function.

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Contact our office today to request an appointment or click below to book online. A team member will reach out to confirm your appointment.

21055 12 Mile Road, Roseville MI 48066