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Root canal

Why do people think a root canal is very painful, and have a bad reputation?

The root canal procedure has obtained an unfortunate reputation as being a severely painful and undesirable procedure.  In reality, it is no more painful than any other dental procedure, just like filling a cavity.  People think that a root canal is a very complex and painful procedure because people think it is more invasive than it actually is.  The reason why root canal procedures get this bad reputation has to do with the infection in the tooth.  An infection that has been present for a long period of time, or is allowed to get larger and more extensive, can cause the injectable local anesthesia that dentists use to be less effective. 

Pain free root canal.

Obviously, performing a procedure when the anesthesia is not working completely can be very painful.  At Sachar Dental NYC, we understand this.  In order to prevent pain when performing a root canal procedure, we simply take the extra time to allow the anesthesia to work.  In the face of infection, local anesthesia takes more time to work, and more quantity needs to be injected, in order to achieve total numbness.  Once we allow the anesthesia to completely work, your root canal procedure should be pain-free.

At Sachar dental NYC, we take this one step further.  We are very skilled in diagnosing infections early on x-ray.  When caught early, we do not face that problem of anesthesia not working when we perform a root canal procedure.

Additionally, a majority of root canals are not very complex, do not need to be performed by a specialist, and can be done by a general dentist.  With modern techniques and local anesthesia, root canals are usually pain-free to perform and recovery is very easy, with less than 24 hours of soreness.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is performed to remove a dead or infected nerve from the root of a tooth.  After the nerve is removed, the canal within the root of the tooth is filled with a filling material.  And finally, the tooth is usually restored with either a type of filling, or a crown.

Why would I need a root canal?

A root canal becomes necessary when the nerve within the tooth becomes inflamed or infected.  There are many reasons why a nerve can become inflamed or infected.  When the nerve is inflamed, it is possible that the inflammation may be reversible, and can be treated such that, a root canal may not be necessary. However, inflammation that is not reversible, will lead to the need for a root canal.  Once the nerve is infected, a root canal will be necessary.  

What happens if I leave an infected tooth untreated?

An untreated infection of the nerve within a tooth may have mild or serious consequences.  The more mild consequences are pain and swelling and spreading of the infection such that the tooth may not be able to be saved.  The more serious consequences include that the infection may spread into your blood and other organs of the body, and can even result in death.

What are the causes of inflammation or infection of the nerve within a tooth?

  • Cavity or tooth decay that involves the nerve
  • Trauma that involves the nerve
  • Cracked or chipped tooth that involves the nerve
  • Cracked or lost fillings in the tooth that involves the nerve
  • Failure of an old root canal procedure
  • Idiopathic reasons

There are many reasons why the nerve within a tooth may become inflamed or infected.  A cavity, due to tooth decay, may became large enough, and deep enough, such that the nerve becomes involved.  Once the nerve is infected a root canal becomes necessary.  Trauma to the tooth can result from biting on something too hard, external forces on the jaw, clenching grinding over time, or any other forces on the tooth.  When the trauma is severe enough, it can cause death of the nerve within the tooth.  When this occurs, a root canal becomes necessary.  Sometimes, a fracture within the tooth is deep enough to affect the nerve, and necessitates a root canal procedure.  This applies to both chipped and cracked teeth.  A cracked or lost filling may affect the nerve, and the tooth may become infected. This will need a root canal as well.  Sometimes, rarely, years after a root canal procedure a patient may get a new infection within the root.  This will require a retreatment of the root canal.  And finally, sometimes the reason for root canal may be idiopathic.  Idiopathic is a medical term that means “for unknown reasons”.

Signs and symptoms that a root canal is needed.

Sometimes, there are no signs and symptoms associated with an infected nerve.  The dentist may notice that the nerve is infected on routine x-rays during your checkup.  The most common signs and symptoms associated with infected nerves that need a root canal are spontaneous pain within the tooth, sensitivity to hot, sensitivity to cold, swelling of the mouth, a draining sore on the gums, tenderness with biting and chewing, tooth discoloration and discomfort of the lymph nodes nearby.

What is done during the examination and decision to perform a root canal?

Whenever a patient comes in to our office with any types of complaints, we perform a thorough clinical examination.  We also perform x-rays when we decide that they are necessary.  During our clinical examination, we will check the tooth, the gums, and any old dentistry.  We will take x-rays to assess the root of the tooth, and look for an infection.  Sometimes, patients experience referred pain, whereas, the pain experienced is not in the same tooth where the nerve infection is.  With our education and extensive experience, we are experts in identifying when there is referred pain, and we are able to identify which tooth is causing the problem.

Do I need anesthesia for a root canal?

The first step in performing a root canal procedure is to achieve local anesthesia.  This enables us to perform the root canal procedure without discomfort.

How is a root canal performed?

Once local anesthesia is achieved, we will place a sheet of rubber, called a dental dam, around the affected tooth.  This ensures that the tooth is completely isolated.  Next, any and all parts of the tooth that have decay are removed.  The infected nerve is then identified and removed.  The canal is then thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria.  In order to seal the canal, the canal is filled with a  filling material.  The next step is to place a temporary filling to further seal the tooth.  For more severe infections, we will prescribe an oral antibiotic to be taken.

Do I need a filling or a crown after a root canal is performed?

Our expert dentists will decide what is necessary next to restore the shape, size, function and strength of your tooth.  The options include a regular filling, a porcelain inlay or onlay filling, or a crown.  This decision is based on how much of the native tooth remains, how strong the tooth is, and what type of restoration will provide adequate strength.

How many visits will I need for a root canal?

For a vast majority of patients, a root canal takes one to two visits.  Rarely, it may take more.

What should I expect after a root canal procedure?

You will be instructed not to eat until the anesthesia wears off. The aesthesia usually wears off in about one hour.  You may experience some mild soreness in the area for the first 24 hours.  You will also be instructed to try to avoid chewing on the side with the temporary filling until you return to have a permanent filling.  You are able to floss and brush as normal.

How long will my root canal procedure last for?

For a vast majority of cases, a root canal procedure should last forever.

When should I see a root canal specialist, endodontist?

When a patient comes in for evaluation, sometimes we will determine that their situation is more complicated.  In this case, we will instruct the patient to see a specialist, an endodontist.  If this is the case, we will refer you to one of our trusted root canal specialists.  After the endodontist has completed the root canal procedure, we have our patients return to our office so that we can perform a filling or a crown.

How much does a root canal procedure cost in Midtown Manhattan, NYC?

At Sachar Dental NYC, our charge for a root canal procedure will range from $1,200 to $1,500, depending on how many canals are affected, and which tooth is involved.  Most PPO dental insurances will cover root canal procedure at 80 to 90%.  We always check with your dental insurance prior to your visit in our office. This allows us to inform you of what your out-of-pocket expenses will be, prior to performing any procedures.  We will submit a claim to your dental insurance and collect the balance directly from them.  At the time of your visit, you will only be responsible for your percentage.

If you have a more complicated case, and we refer you to an endodontist, root canal specialist costs will range from $2,500 - $3,000.

Does my dental insurance cover root canal procedures?

Most PPO dental insurance plans cover root canals at 80 to 90%.  As always, at Sachar Dental NYC, we will check with your insurance benefits prior to coming into the office.  This allows us to inform you of what your out-of-pocket expense will be, prior to performing any procedures.  At the time of your visit, you will only be responsible for your percentage.  We will then submit a claim to your insurance company and collect the balance from them directly.

Why are we the best dentists in New York City for root canal procedure?

At Sachar Dental NYC, we take great pride in our ability to diagnose which tooth is causing the problem.  We are experts in determining whether or not a root canal procedure is necessary, and which tooth needs to be addressed.  We are experts when it comes to diagnosing referred pain.  As always, we perform the least invasive procedures and most conservative options.  If a nerve can be saved, we will not perform a root canal procedure.  In these cases, we can perform a type of filling or a crown.  When a root canal procedure is deemed to be necessary, we are experts in performing a simple root canal.  We also experts in determining when a case is more complex, and specialist referral is necessary.  We also always use the least toxic materials possible when performing dental restorations such as a filling or crown.

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