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Root Canal Therapy in Vienna, VA

Whenever the phrase root canal is mentioned, a twitch of fear runs through your mind. A number of people see root canals as a difficult and painful procedure, not to mention, expensive. However, not proceeding with the treatment could be the biggest mistake of your life.

If you are experiencing symptoms that may need a root canal treatment, please contact Gary Ellenbogen, DDS. in Vienna, VA at (703) 734-1095.

What Exactly is Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal treatment removes the dental pulp from the tooth once it becomes infected. The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth, which is connected to the bloodstream. It has connective tissue and nerve endings. If the dental pulp becomes swollen and infected by bacteria, a number of symptoms could ensue such as temperature and biting sensitivity and severe pain.

Removing the tooth pulp does not affect the tooth. Teeth function normally without the pulp since the pulp only provides sensation to the tooth. With the pulp removed, sensitivity to heat and cold in that tooth are also eliminated. Once the pulp is removed, the rest of the tooth can ideally be restored using cosmetic dentistry. However, in some cases, the dentist may have to extract the tooth and replace it with a dental implant, or conventional bridge or crown.

Root Canal Symptoms

There may be times when root canal therapy is recommended despite the lack of tooth pain. Occasionally, the only symptom is temperature or bite sensitivity. However, on other occasions a problem can be detected by examining an X-ray. The dentist will examine and assess your dental health to determine when and if root canal treatment is necessary. The symptoms of pulp infection vary. Experiencing one or more of these symptoms can be an indicator that root canal treatment should be considered.

  1. The tooth is painful.
  2. The gums below and near the affected tooth are swollen and tender.
  3. The tooth is starting to darken in color due to the decayed pulp.
  4. The patient experiences pain while eating and drinking.
  5. The patient feels prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold foods/beverages even after the food/beverage has been consumed.

Root Canal Procedure

Once the dentist has recommended root canal treatment, the treatment can be scheduled. It is an out-patient procedure that is carried out under a local anesthetic. The dentist may opt for another X-ray of the tooth to determine the amount of decay present and visualize where the pulp chamber is. Then, he will place a protective “dental dam” to isolate the infected tooth throughout the procedure. Afterwards, he will drill a small opening in the tooth crown through which the decayed parts of the tooth will be extracted.

The process of extracting decayed root requires great skill. The dentist will remove the decayed pulp, surrounding tissue, and tooth surfaces that have all been affected by the decay. Once the inside of the tooth is clean, it will be filled (obturated) using a material called gutta-percha, a biologically formulated rubbery substance that blends naturally with teeth. Gutta-percha is mixed with dental cement to adhere to the tooth. After the tooth has been filled, the dentist will put a temporary seal on the tooth to prevent recontamination of the decay-causing bacteria. It may be necessary to return for a second appointment to complete the procedure. The next step is to repair or replace the crown.

Root Canal Recovery

After root canal treatment, normal oral activities can resume. While there may be minimal swelling or pain for a few days, a number of patients don’t experience any. Pain relief medication and post-procedure instructions will be provided by the dental team as well as a personal dental health guide to prevent future tooth decay.

If severe pain is experienced following a root canal, please call the dentist immediately for re-evaluation.

Dr. Ellenbogen in Vienna, VA can demonstrate how painless root canal treatments can be. Our dental team will help you get an appointment based on your personal preferences and availability. Call us today at (703) 734-1095 to find out more about this treatment including root canal cost.