Root Canal Therapy in

Greenville

I have a toothache. What does it mean?

Toothaches can mean several different things, but they are most commonly symptoms of a tooth infection. Tooth infections are treated with root canal therapy, and they really aren’t as bad as their reputations claim. These days, root canal therapy is more similar to getting a cavity filled, and receiving treatment will help you get out of pain instead of dealing with the discomfort of an infected tooth. 

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Did you know…

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About 15% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fear or misconceptions. 

Ready to schedule your appointment?

(864) 565-8684

How it works: The root canal treatment process

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Exam & X-Rays

During your appointment, your dentist will perform an  exam and review your x-rays in order to properly diagnose your issue. If it is a tooth infection, the next step is to determine the extent of the infection, and decide whether or not root canal therapy will be effective for treating the problem. 

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Local Anesthesia & Sedation Options

To start the procedure, your dentist will numb the site, including the nerves of the treatment area, using a numbing needle. You may also opt to receive sedation to ensure you feel comfortable throughout the process.  

Removing Decay & Infected Pulp

Once you are comfortably numb, your dentist will begin removing any decayed material starting with the enamel. From there, they will move toward the pulp. Once the infected pulp is removed from the inside of the tooth and the canals have been thoroughly cleaned, the area is flushed with disinfectant to eliminate bacteria.

Filling The Root Canals

After the inside of the tooth has been cleaned and sanitized, the root canals will be filled with a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” This inert substance replaces the extracted pulp and supports the interior of the tooth to maintain structure.

Sealing Or Capping The Tooth

Once the interior of the tooth has been filled, it will be restored with either a filling or a dental crown, depending on how much enamel was lost during the procedure.

Types of root canal therapies

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Anterior Root Canals

Anterior root canals are performed on your anterior, or front, teeth. They are considered to be more difficult and complex than posterior (rear or molar) root canals. This is because the front teeth are smaller, and do not have a large chewing surface.

In the standard posterior root canal procedure, an opening can be created on the top, or crown, of a molar or premolar. This is not possible with an anterior tooth, so an opening must be created in the lingual surface  of the tooth — the side that faces the tongue. In addition, it can be more difficult to restore anterior teeth with a crown or a filling, since the surface of the tooth is much smaller.

Posterior Root Canals

Posterior root canals are a more common treatment. The posterior teeth (molars and premolars) become infected more commonly than the front teeth because they have deeper pits, grooves, and fissures that can harbor cavity-causing bacteria and plaque.

In a posterior root canal, an opening is made in the top chewing surface of the tooth, which provides easy access to the interior pulp and root canals. Once the procedure is complete, the tooth is restored with either a filling or a crown, depending on which will best support the remaining tooth structure.

Did you know…

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Root canals are a simple, common procedure with about 25 million root canals being performed every year.

Think you may need a root canal?

(864) 565-8684

Have questions about root canal treatment? Find answers here.

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What causes a root canal?

You will need root canal therapy if your tooth becomes infected. This happens one of two ways: 

A serious cavity can eat away at the outer layers of your enamel and dentin. Eventually, this decay will expose the vulnerable pulp (the material that keeps your tooth alive) to bacteria that causes the infection. Dental trauma can crack the enamel and dentin, exposing the nerve and blood vessel-filled pulp to oral bacteria. 

Regardless of how the infection occurs, the pulp will begin to decay and die once it becomes infected. When this happens, you’ll experience symptoms like a toothache, gum inflammation near the tooth, and tooth sensitivity.


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Does root canal treatment hurt?

No. It’s a common myth that root canal therapy hurts when, in fact, it is the toothache caused by the infection that is painful. In modern dentistry, there’s no need for pain. Root canal therapy is similar to receiving a dental filling. 

Your mouth will be completely numb during the procedure, and you can even be sedated at our office, if you wish. Getting a root canal is the best way to rid yourself of the pain and discomfort of an infected tooth, which can be very severe. 

Can root canal treatment fail and what happens if it does?

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In rare cases, root canal treatment can fail. If not all of the decayed material and bacteria are removed, the tooth infection may come back. If this happens, you’ll come back to our office for endodontic retreatment. Your dentist will re-open your tooth and repeat the root canal process, and ensure that the infection is completely removed.


Do I always need a crown with a root canal?

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Not always. Crowns are usually the best way to protect your tooth after root canal therapy, and are recommended for posterior teeth (molars and premolars). However, fillings are sometimes used to fill front teeth. Your dentist will let you know if you need a crown or a filling after your root canal appointment. 


Is root canal therapy covered by insurance?

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Root canal therapy is usually covered by the vast majority of dental insurance policies to some degree. However, we do recommend that you consult with your insurance provider so that you understand your benefits and which treatments are covered.


Did you know…

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Getting root canal therapy can save you from more invasive procedures, like a tooth extraction.

Ready for your next dental appointment?

(864) 565-8684
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