Root Canal Simi Valley, CA
What is a root canal?
A root canal is the most commonly performed endodontic procedure in Simi Valley, CA. It involves treating problems within the tooth’s soft core, also known as the dental pulp. The dental pulp is the soft tissue found inside the tooth; it extends from the top of the tooth down to the end of the root. It contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue that provide nutrients to the tooth as it grows.
As a tooth grows, the pulp provides nourishment and helps the tooth develop properly. Once the tooth is fully functioning, its nerve is not vital to the tooth’s ability to function, or to provide it with sensory functions such as detecting the sensation of hot or cold. As a result, a root canal can be performed and the nerve and surrounding tissue can be removed from the tooth to repair and save the tooth from an infected pulp. The mature tooth will be able to survive without the pulp.
The pulp is most commonly damaged by an untreated cavity that allows bacteria to eat through the enamel of the tooth and, eventually, infect the pulp. The pulp can also be damaged by trauma that cuts off the tooth’s blood supply and causes the pulp tissue to die. Although the pulp is no longer needed to supply fully developed teeth with nutrients, it will gradually decay if left damaged within the tooth.
If left untreated, an infection may build up within the root tip and form an abscess that can damage the bone around the teeth, causing pain and creating the potential for permanent damage. In these cases, a root canal should be performed by an endodontist.
What are the benefits of having a root canal?
How about keeping your natural tooth? How about avoiding extraction? How about not having to have a dental implant or a bridge to replace the tooth you had to get pulled due to the infection inside the pulp? Although undeservedly tagged with being akin to medieval torture, the root canal is actually a life preserver for a tooth. These procedures don’t hurt any more than having a typical cavity filled (despite misconceptions out there!), and they allow the person to keep the natural tooth, which is always the preferred route of care for Dr. Bankhardt, if possible. People equate the pain they are feeling in their infected tooth, where decay has entered the pulp chamber and is affecting the nerves, with a root canal procedure. But the root canal actually is what will alleviate the pain caused by the infection.
Bottom line? A root canal can allow a patient to save a tooth that would otherwise likely be headed for extraction. Plus, a root canal stops the progression of infection that could create an abscess and infect the gums, and spread elsewhere in the body.
When Should I Get A Root Canal?
Patients with damaged pulp may experience the following symptoms:
- Severe toothache
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- A recurring pimple on the gums
If a person is experiencing any of these symptoms, the dental pulp may be infected and in need of a root canal. Getting prompt treatment to help relieve symptoms and prevent permanent damage is recommended.
Is there anything I need to do to prepare for a root canal?
There aren’t any preparations needed for these treatments.
Root Canal by an Endodontist in Simi Valley, CA
A root canal is usually performed by an endodontist in a series of dentist-office visits, first to remove the diseased pulp, and then to clean and seal the tooth to prevent further damage.
During the first office visit, the endodontist will make an opening in the tooth leading into the pulp chamber, and remove the damaged pulp. The canals of the root are cleaned and shaped to prepare them for filling material. A temporary filling will be placed in the opening to protect the tooth between root canal appointments. The dentist may also prescribe medication to control infection and promote healing.
At the next appointment, the temporary filling will be removed by the endodontist, and the pulp chamber and root canal will be thoroughly cleaned and filled. The pulp chamber is usually filled with a biocompatible, rubber-like material called gutta-percha, which is cemented to the tooth with a sealer paste. The final step of the root canal procedure is to restore the tooth with a crown, post or other restorative devices.
Although many patients think of root canal treatment as being painful and uncomfortable, that is usually not the case. Local anesthesia is used to numb the affected area, although it may not be needed because the nerve tissue is dead. However, anesthesia often helps patients relax.
What Our Patients Have to Say
“Awesome!, Painless! I feel better after my root canal filling by the minute. Dr. Bob and his staff are the best.”
How long does a root canal procedure take?
There isn’t a stock timeframe for these procedures with Dr. Patterson & Dr. Bankhardt. For instance, if an eye tooth needs a root canal, the tooth can be cleaned out and a filling may be all that’s needed to close the entry hole and complete the process. This could be done in a single appointment lasting just an hour or two. Molars needing root canals usually will require a crown to be placed over the tooth after it is cleaned out, a filling placed, and a temporary crown put over the tooth. This will add a second appointment to the process, as your crown needs to be fabricated at a dental lab and this can take up to a couple of weeks. You return and Dr. Bankhardt places the crown over your tooth to finish your root canal procedure.
What will my tooth feel like after my root canal?
Root canals with Dr. Patterson really are not any more painful than a typical filling. During the procedure, the patient feels nothing. Sometimes, the pain that creates the need for the root canal can be confused with the procedure. Once the infected nerves and pulp are removed, your tooth no longer has any nerve feelings, but there will be some residual soreness as the surrounding tissues calm down from the infection. Any pain should be in the form of soreness, and not acute. If acute pain develops again, there is a possibility that not all of the infection has cleared, so we will need to see you again.
What are the Risks of a Root Canal?
Although most root canal procedures are performed successfully with no complications, there is always a risk that the treated tooth will again become infected, especially if it has been subjected to multiple root canals. There is also a small risk of damaging the tooth during the procedure, although this rarely occurs.
What is the recovery process like after a root canal?
Recovery isn’t necessary; patients can return to work or their normal activities immediately after their root canal. Any soreness can be handled with over-the-counter pain medication.
Results of a root canal
A root canal is considered a highly successful treatment, with most patients experiencing complete relief from their symptoms. A crown or filling can usually repair the appearance of the treated tooth so that other people will not even realize that a root canal was performed. The results of a root canal procedure can be permanent, as long as the patient practices healthy oral hygiene and visits the dentist regularly.
How long will my tooth that had the root canal last?
People assume that removing the pulp containing the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues would mean their tooth would have a limited lifespan. But the pulp is only important to the tooth during growth and development. Once the tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp, as the surrounding tissues nourish the tooth. A tooth that has had a root canal can last for the rest of the patient’s life.
Are there any restrictions on what I eat after having a root canal?
If you have residual soreness, you may want to eat some soft food such as pasta or eggs for the first night after your root canal. That may not be necessary, as there may be little if any soreness. Remember, the tooth itself won’t be a source of hot and cold sensitivity or pain — it no longer has any nerves in it!
If Dr. Bankhardt has placed a filling and a temporary crown while we wait for your final crown to be fabricated, it’s a good idea to avoid really sticky foods that could pull off the crown. Also, avoid hard foods like nuts and peanut brittle until your final crown is placed.
Are root canals covered by dental insurance?
These are deemed medically necessary procedures, as decay and bacteria have entered the inner pulp of the tooth. Without a root canal, a host of other problems could develop. Everything from having to extract the tooth to the infection spreading out of the tooth. Root canals are usually covered, although dental insurance plans vary widely, so it is a good idea to check with your insurer if you are unsure.
At Dr. Bankhardt’s, we work hard to gain the highest level of coverage with your insurance provider.
Schedule a Consultation
Need a root canal? Contact endodontist Dr. Patterson or Dr. Bankhardt, serving patients in Simi Valley, CA, and surrounding areas, including Chatsworth, Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, and Northridge, at (805) 584-1194 or click the button below to schedule an appointment today!