Dr. Ray Becker provides root canal treatment in Columbia, MD. It is a general dentistry service to save a natural tooth that has been diseased or damaged and is causing significant pain due to inflammation within the tooth. Although the term “root canal” often instills pain and fear in many patients, the procedure is typically no more painful than a dental filling.
Dr. Becker and his staff will ensure your comfort during your procedure. Visit our dental office in Columbia, MD today for restorative and comprehensive dentistry.
What is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment — also called endodontics (“endo” – inside, “dont” – tooth) — is a set of specialized procedures designed to treat problems of the soft pulp (nerve) tissue inside the tooth. While some mistakenly think of a root canal as an unusually painful treatment, in most cases the procedure is no more uncomfortable than getting a filling. It’s actually one of the best and most effective ways of relieving certain types of tooth pain.
Root Canals in Columbia, MD
We believe that patient education can help relax patients and allow them to feel more confident in their oral health decisions. Dr. Becker will take the time to thoroughly explain the entire process and what to expect after the treatment.
The root canal process generally begins the same way as a filling does. There is usually not any greater discomfort either. Dr. Becker will administer an anesthetic to numb the tooth and the surrounding area.
Next, he will make a small opening on the surface of the affected tooth to give access to the pulp chamber and root canals. The chamber and empty canals are then cleaned, disinfected, and prepared to receive a filling of inert, biocompatible material.
Finally, adhesive cement is used to seal the opening in the tooth, preventing future infection. The tooth is typically covered with a dental filling or a crown to provide additional protection and support. Make sure to ask your dentist near you about what to eat after a root canal. It is common for patients to stick to a soft diet for a couple of days.
After the Root Canal
To strengthen the tooth after root canal therapy, Dr. Becker often recommends the placement of a dental crown to help support the structure of your tooth. Custom-fit and color-matched to your natural teeth, a dental crown fits around the tooth like a cap and will support the long-term health of your tooth.
In rare cases, you may experience pain in the affected tooth again. X-rays may show that the infection is still present around the root. In that case, you may need another root canal evaluation. Recontamination of the root canals can occur for a number of reasons including advanced gum disease, new tooth decay, ineffective dental crown placement, or cracked tooth.
Root Canal Re-treatment
After a period of time, you may experience pain in the affected tooth again — or, even if you have no symptoms, x-rays may reveal that infection is still present near the tooth’s roots. In that case, you may need root canal removal and re-treatment.
Recontamination of the root canals can occur in a number of ways:
- Narrow canals within the tooth may mean that some were not detected and treated during the original root canal, allowing infection to reoccur
- Advanced gum disease
- New tooth decay
- Ineffective dental crown placement
- Cracked tooth
Root Canal FAQs
Is there an alternative to root canal treatment?
You could have the whole tooth extracted, but it’s always better to try to save it — especially since root canal treatment is routine and has a very high success rate (over 90%). Saving the tooth can prevent complex dental problems from occurring later on.
This can include unwanted tooth migration or shifting, which can lead to difficulties in chewing; the need for bridgework or dental implants, which may be costly and complicated; and even the eventual loss of bone structure from the area of the missing tooth.
Are root canals covered by dental insurance?
Yes, root canal procedures are covered by most dental insurance providers. This restorative dental procedure can be considered a basic or major dental service and is often subject to your plan’s deductible and waiting periods.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
The major red flag you should be on the lookout for is major tooth pain in a localized area. If you have been avoiding the dentist and ignoring your tooth pain, it can become a major pain issue for you down the road. It’s best to address tooth pain as soon as you notice it to prevent more damage to your teeth and gums.
Schedule a Dental Exam Today
Don’t let your tooth pain go undiagnosed. Dr. Becker offers a variety of services to help relieve your tooth pain in Columbia, MD, and surrounding Howard County communities. Call today or schedule an appointment online.