What is a Root Canal?
A root canal therapy is a restorative procedure in which the Doctor clears the infection out of a decaying tooth to restore the natural tooth. The procedure is often associated with pain and discomfort, but the reality is it is just like getting a filling. Pain that patients experience is not from the procedure but from the infection itself, which the Doctor removes during a root canal. In fact, most patients report significant relief after the restorative procedure. At Snellville Family Dental, we understand that root canal therapy can be intimidating, but we make the procedure as comfortable and easy as possible for our patients.
When a Root Canal is Necessary
The need for root canal therapy can be indicated by several different symptoms. Patients who are experiencing severe pain in one tooth or prolonged sensitivity with different temperatures often have infection in the tooth. Additionally, infection can be indicated by darkening of the tooth from the inside or swelling and pain of the surrounding gums. Occasionally, an abscess can form, causing more problems for the patient.
Once an abscess forms, the patient can be sure that it is time to visit the Doctor to have the infection properly diagnosed and cared for. Though sometimes, patients can even notice no symptoms whatsoever and still require a root canal. This is why it is imperative for patients to attend their regular cleanings and check-ups to properly care for their oral health and properly diagnose issues they otherwise would not have known about.
The Root Canal Procedure
Typically, the root canal procedure itself can be completed in one visit with the dentist. Follow up visits are usually necessary to check on the restoration and deliver a permanent crown to keep the area free from infection. Before beginning the procedure, the Doctor will need to take X-rays in order to determine the extent and severity of the infection.
Though the procedure itself is not painful since the nerve is dead, the Doctor will begin by applying local anesthesia to the area of the root canal. Then, the Doctor will place a rubber dam on the patient’s mouth to keep the area free of saliva. Next, an access hole will be drilled into the tooth to remove all pulp and bacteria from the inner tooth. To completely clear the tooth from infection, the Doctor will file the inside of the tooth and if necessary flush it with water or sodium hypochlorite.
Finally, the Doctor will seal the tooth to protect it from future infection by filling it with gutta-percha and closing off the opening with a crown.
Because teeth that have had a root canal procedure done are fragile, they must be covered with a crown, or a “cap.” Dental crowns are constructed from a number of different materials that are all ultimately used to protect the natural tooth. The most common is porcelain due to its resemblance to natural tooth color, but the components are chosen on a case-by-case basis, according to the patient’s specific needs and preferences. Patients will first receive a temporary crown, while the final one is made; temporaries are not meant to last, but they will keep the tooth free of infection risk while the final crown is made.
Stainless Steel Crowns
These prefabricated crowns are usually used on permanent teeth as a temporary crown. As a result, this protects the tooth while a permanent crown is being made. It covers the entire tooth, and provides protection from decay. Stainless steel crowns are also often used in children to cover prepared baby teeth until the permanent teeth come in.
Various Metals Crowns
Similar to stainless steel crowns, some other metals used to make dental crowns include both gold alloy and palladium alloy. Base metal alloys such as nickel and chromium are also used. When this type of dental crown is used, less of the tooth structure needs to be removed. These stand up well to biting and chewing and do not wear down easily over time. They also are resistant to breaking, fractures and chipping. While the main drawback for most people is the noticeable color, they are a good option for molars that can’t be readily seen.
Porcelain Fused to Metal Crowns
This type of dental crown can be matched in color to the rest of your teeth, however this type is more susceptible to chips and breaks in comparison to full metal. Because of the excellent color match, these are a good choice for front teeth. They offer durability of full metal crowns with the color matching qualities of the porcelain.
This type of dental crown is a less expensive option than the others due to materials used. They do wear down over time, and are more likely to fracture. Similar to porcelain fused to metal crowns, this type of crown can also be matched to the patient’s tooth color, and they look natural in the mouth.
All Ceramic or Porcelain Crowns
These give patients a better color match to teeth, and are the best choice for those with metal allergies. Unfortunately, the porcelain crowns can be more prone to fracturing, and may need replacing sooner than the metal crowns. As long as these crowns are cared for properly with no excessive force applied, they should last about as long as any other crown.
Crowns Look and Feel Like Your Teeth
Once the tooth is free of infection, your Doctor will reshape the tooth, and then a paste or a putty-type substance is used to make an impression of the tooth receiving the crown. Then, our office will send the impression to a dental lab that will make the dental crown. Finally, your Doctor will affix the temporary crown to your tooth while the permanent crown is made, which usually takes around 2-3 weeks.
After the temporary crown is placed, the Doctor will select a shade that best matches the patient’s other teeth. On the second visit, he will remove the temporary crown, and then check the permanent crown for a color match and fit. If it is acceptable, your dentist will cement it in place. For patients who are interested in whitening, they should discuss this with their Doctor before completing the color match portion of the visit.
Causes of a Tooth Infection
You may feel worried about going to your dentist because you feel like you did something wrong or caused the problem. However, anyone could need a root canal. Sometimes even the most diligent of patients can still end up with a root canal infection. You might chip your tooth on something or fracture it and need to have a root canal. The important thing is that you speak with your Doctor and let him help you get the treatment that you need.
Getting a root canal is often a procedure that requires many steps for the completion of the restoration. Because of this, the pricing can vary. Below is a list of all possible procedures included in root canal therapy. These prices are the out of pocket costs for each procedure, and therefore do not reflect any coverage by insurance. Insurance will often cover these procedures, but patients should contact their insurance company directly for a list of full coverage of benefits.
Many insurance plans use a 100-80-50 format of coverage, which means preventative care is covered at 100%, basic procedures at 80%, and major procedures at 50%. However, benefits will vary depending on the patient’s specific plan, so patients should contact their insurance company for exact coverage. At Snellville Family Dental, we will submit dental insurance claims as a courtesy to our patients.
|Root Canal – Anterior||$756|
|Root Canal – Bicuspid||$875|
|Root Canal – Molar||$1,153|
How Long Do Dental Crowns Last?
Generally dental crowns will last anywhere from 5 to 15 years. However, the lifespan of any crown depends a great deal on the amount of wear and tear it is put through. It also depends on good oral hygiene practices. Occasionally, if the restoration of the tooth is exposed, the work will either need to be redone or the tooth will need to be extracted.
Tooth Infections Require Immediate Attention
Many patients tend to ignore toothaches either because they do not like going to the dentist or they do not think anything is really wrong, or perhaps some other reason. Whatever your reason is, it is important to get tooth pain examined by a Doctor right away. Tooth decay is very treatable when caught early; cavities can be easily filled and taken care of by the dentist. However, patients who ignore the symptoms of tooth decay can face much more severe consequences. If an infection is left untreated for too long, this could result in the tooth needing to be extracted altogether.
Aftercare for Root Canal Therapy
Typically after receiving a root canal, patients will have a temporary restoration placed on the tooth. It will take about 2-3 weeks for the final restoration to be made by the dental lab and returned to our office, at which point the patient can have the permanent restoration placed. As the anesthesia wears off, it is not uncommon for patients to experience tenderness or mild soreness in the jaw. These symptoms can generally be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Temporary dental crowns are meant only to serve your needs while a permanent crown is being made for you. Although we make the temporary crown to resemble the final crown, it may not look exactly like the permanent one. It is not unusual to have some temperature sensitivity while the temporary crown is in place. This will, in most cases, be relieved by the replacement of the temporary crown with the permanent crown. Taking over the counter pain relievers as directed such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should handle any post treatment discomfort. It may be a good idea to take one of these immediately after the appointment before you experience any discomfort.
Temporary Crowns Are Not Meant to Last Forever
Temporary crowns are not strong; they may occasionally become loose, break or come off. Though this is not a dental emergency, please contact our office immediately, bring your crown with you and we will replace or re-cement the temporary crown. If this happens at night or on the weekend, replace the temporary crown on your tooth after filling the crown with toothpaste, Vaseline, or Fixodent to hold it in place until you can contact us to properly cement it. It is important that the temporary crown remains on the tooth to protect the underlying tooth structure. Without the temporary crown, your teeth may move and then the permanent crown may not fit.
It is also imperative that patients return to our office at the appointment time to receive the permanent crown. Failure to do so may result in the need to re-prepare the tooth and re-make the crown at the patient’s cost. Please contact our office if you have any unusual developments with your temporary crown, such as:
- Severe pain or pressure
- Visible swelling near the restoration
- An uneven feeling in the bite
- An allergic reaction to medication
Caring for Your Permanent Crown
Once permanent dental crowns are placed, patients should be aware of a few things to best care for the new crown. It is important to not chew on hard food with the restorations for 24 hours from the time they were cemented; to attain optimum strength, the cement must cure for approximately 24 hours.
Sensitivity is common after a permanent crown is placed, especially to hot or cold foods. This sensitivity will disappear gradually after a few weeks. Infrequently, sensitivity lasts longer than six weeks. Please notify us if this occurs.
The most significant reason for prosthesis failure is inadequate return for examination. Visit us at regular examination periods determined by your Doctor. Often times, problems that are developing around the crowns can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, but waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration. Call us immediately if any one of these conditions occur:
- A feeling of movement or looseness in the crown
- Sensitivity to sweet foods
- A peculiar taste from the restoration site
- Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration
- Sensitivity to pressure
Take the First Step to a Healthier Set of Teeth
Snellville Family Dental has applied dental crowns of all types, shapes, and sizes. Dr. Nabi works with his team of experienced and professional dental lab technicians to give you all of the information you need to make the right decision for you. They will sit down with you and explain everything you need to know, and discuss costs with you.
Overall, you will look and feel better about yourself, and your friends and family will notice the difference as well. Any pain you had before when eating will be gone. You will no longer have a reason to hide your smile.
If you want to learn more about dental crowns, or any of our other dental restorative procedures, please Contact Us for all of your Dentistry needs.
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Dental Assistant, RDA
Dental Assistant, RDA
Dental Assistant, RDA