How to Care for a Root Canal

Information Following Endodontic Treatment

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Root Canals

A root canal is recommended when bacteria has entered the space where the nerve of the tooth resides. This can occur from deep decay or fracturing of tooth structure. When bacteria gets into this space the only way it can be removed is through careful instrumentation of that space and irrigation with medicines that wipe out the bacteria.

Endodontic therapy typically takes 1 or 2 appointments depending on the severity of the infection. In rare cases it can take 3 or more. It is common to experience any of the following symptoms after any of these appointments: sensitivity to hot and cold or pressure, some swelling. If you notice an increased or persistent swelling call us immediately as additional medication may be required.

One common occurrence with a newly root canaled tooth is for the tooth to feel high when you bite your teeth together. If this occurs it will cause your tooth to remain sore. Please call us if your bite feels high or unbalanced so that we can adjust it.

A temporary filling may be used between appointments. This filling can feel a little rough and / or “chalky” and may have small pieces crumble out which is not abnormal. Call us if it causes you any discomfort.

Be gentle on the tooth when eating until the final restoration is placed.

The gum tissue could have been irritated during the procedure and may be sore for a few days together with the anesthetic injection site.

During endodontic treatment, the nerve, blood and nutrient supply to the tooth is removed. This will cause the tooth to become brittle and prone to fracturing which could result in the need to extract the tooth. In most cases, a full coverage crown is recommended to add strength back to the tooth and prevent this from happening.

Proper brushing and flossing and regular 6-month (minimal) cleanings are essential to the long term stability of your teeth.

Do root canals always work? NO! A root canal is a therapy not a cure. It has a very high success rate but approximately 4% fail. The nerve of a tooth can sometimes have branches that instruments and medicines cannot reach and allow an infection to remain, or a tooth can have a fracture in the root that is unseen and keeps the tooth irritated despite having the nerve removed. If your root canal becomes reinfected within a period of 1 year from the date of service, we will either refund the cost of your root canal or retreat your failed root canal. In addition, if the tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted, the cost of the crown placed in our office will also be refunded during that period once the tooth has been removed.

This warranty is null and void if the patient does not maintain their recommended continuing care cleaning appointments.