Family and Cosmetic Dentist in Seneca, SC - Josh Murphy, DMD

Root CanalRoot Canal
Sample of a tooth with an infected nerve

Root Canal

Root canals allow us to save a tooth when the nerve (pulp) of the tooth has been compromised.

Fortunately, the technology for performing root canals has come a long way in the past 20 years. Rotary instruments allow us to clean and shape the inside of the tooth much more quickly and with less pain after the procedure than in the past. Additionally, warmed root filling materials (called gutta percha) allow us to more completely fill the inner anatomy of the tooth.

Does a root canal hurt?

Usually, we do root canals because a tooth is hurting already. The root canal procedure should help the tooth feel better.  Some people report instantaneous pain relief. Other patients tell us the toothache went away immediately, but it took a few days for the bone and gums to to fully feel better.

While there are exceptions to every rule, a root canal should not be painful. It should not hurt during the procedure. After the numbing medicine wears off, you may experience some sensitivity to biting in the days following a root canal, but that should get better day by day. We’re thankful for the technology that allows us to make this procedure much more comfortable and much quicker than in times past.

I had a root canal and it’s still a little tender to bite on that tooth.

It may be sensitive to bite on a tooth with a root canal for the first few days. This should get better each day.

If you get a splinter in your finger, you would expect it to heal. But it is usually still sore while the wound is healing. Root canals fix a wound, and it takes some time for your body to heal around the tooth too.

Does Every tooth with a root canal need a crown?

It depends.

Almost all back teeth with root canals need a crown.

Some front teeth with root canals need a crown.

Does Every Crown with a crown need a root canal?

No. Crowned teeth only need root canals if the nerve (pulp) of the tooth is sick or dead.

My friend says not to get a root canal because they don’t work.

The statistics tell us that root canals have on average a 90% success rate over a 5 year period. Your friend may fit into the 10% with a treatment related failure. Your friend may also have had a failure due to some other cause such as decay getting underneath the crown due to poor hygiene.

I saw on TV that root canals are bad for your health.

Infected teeth are bad for your health. This includes teeth that had a root canal that has failed.