Chances are, you don’t know what an endodontist is. It’s just a fancy term for someone who specializes in saving smiles by treating problems related to the soft pulp inside your teeth. If you want to ensure your root canal procedure goes well, get an endodontist to do it!
Attleboro, MA dentist Dr. Ghyath Alkhalil is our resident endodontist. Like other endodontists, he completed several years of advanced training after obtaining his dental degrees. Not many dentists choose this specialty. According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), less than three percent of dentists are also endodontists.
Also according to the AAE, they perform an average of 25 root canals a week, far more than the two a week typically performed by general dentists. Because of their specialized training, they are also better equipped to handle any complications that might arise during your procedure.
To schedule an appointment with our endodontist, call Attleboro Family Dental Care at 774-225-0618. In the meantime, we’ve provided some information on the root canal procedure. Most folks who have gotten one will tell you the reality is nowhere near as bad as its reputation.
Focus on Positive Aspects of Root Canal Procedure
As with anything else in life, it’s best to focus on the positive aspects of root canal therapy:
- You get to keep your tooth. The alternative to a root canal is often an extraction. But it’s better to save your tooth. It not only preserves the look of your smile, it keeps your jaw strong and prevents nearby teeth from shifting out of place.
- It will relieve your pain. When decay gets into the soft center of your tooth and gets infected, it’s often quite painful. A root canal gets you out of pain.
- It will save you money. After an extraction, you may want to replace your tooth, with a dental bridge or a dental implant. The cost of an extraction, combined with either of these two options, will cost more than a root canal.
What’s Inside Your Tooth?
A hollow chamber inside your tooth is filled with pulp. Your pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. The presence of nerves is what causes sensations of sensitivity and/or pain. The chamber also contains canals that extend through your tooth roots and down into the bone. All tooth roots have at least one root canal, while some have multiple canals.
Pulp is crucial to the development of teeth. But once teeth are mature, they don’t need it. So you can keep your tooth structure intact even if pulp is removed.
Causes and Symptoms of Tooth Infection
Decay that is left untreated and gets into the center of your tooth is often how the soft pulp inside becomes infected. But it’s not the only way. Other causes include:
- Repeated dental procedures
- A cracked or chipped tooth
- A blow to your tooth
- Advanced gum disease
Pain is the symptom that most often brings people to our office. An infection is frequently, though not always, painful. Other symptoms may include:
- A darkening or discoloration of your tooth
- Swelling around your tooth
- Difficulty chewing
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
A Root Canal, Explained
So what actually happens during a root canal procedure? Dr. Alkhalil will use a piece of latex called a dental dam to keep your tooth clean and dry during treatment. After making a small opening in the top of the tooth, he uses special instruments to remove the infected pulp and to widen and shape the canals. The last step is filling them with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. To strengthen the tooth and help preserve it, Dr. Alkhalil seal it with a filling or dental crown.
Of course, he’ll thoroughly numb your mouth before the procedure starts. Most people don’t find a root canal any more uncomfortable than getting a tooth filling.
He can usually complete your root canal in one or two visits, based on the number of canals involved and other factors. If you need to come back for a second appointment, he’ll seal your tooth with a temporary filling to protect it between visits.
Think you may need a root canal procedure? Call Attleboro Family Dental Care at 774-225-0618.