Single Visit Root Canals
If you have ever dealt with a toothache, you know that they are no laughing matter. A toothache can stop you in your tracks and keep you from doing what you enjoy. A bad tooth can disrupt work, sleep, and recreational activities, and can overshadow even the best holiday or vacation plans. Many patients even get so desperate in the middle of a toothache that they would rather take their tooth out than deal with the discomfort any longer!
Fortunately, Dr. Walpole and his staff at Bright Choice Family Dental have a better solution. Root canals offer patients the ability to be pain free again without the hassle and expense of replacing a missing tooth. And, with modern advancements in dental technology, root canals are now about as painless as a simple routine filling!
What is a Root Canal?
Root canals, sometimes known by their specialty name of endodontics, have gotten a bad rap over the years. Between old technology and false information, many people are left confused as to what a root canal actually is as well as the risks and benefits of root canal treatment.
Teeth consist of three main layers: the outer layer of enamel (visible when you smile), an intermediate layer called dentin, and finally the innermost layer filled with nerves and blood vessels. Root canals are performed by a general dentist or endodontist when there is a problem with the innermost layer of nerves and blood vessels in a tooth. The causes of nerve problems can include tooth fractures, large cavities, or even deep fillings or repeat fillings performed over time.
Nerve problems usually come in one of two forms: either sudden and painful, or slow and irritable. When the nerve of a tooth is exposed, it is quickly infiltrated by bacteria from the rest of the mouth. This bacteria can travel down the length of the nerve tissue in the tooth and lodge below the tip of the root. If left untreated, this can lead to pain, bone loss, and swelling sometimes known as a dental abscess.
This diagram shows the general process of how Dr. Walpole performs root canals here at his office in Wichita Falls, TX:
Much like a routine filling, patients are given a numbing agent prior to treatment. Patients often report that when finished the root canal was “easier than their last filling!” This is because Dr. Walpole uses the latest technology in endodontics to make your root canal painless, clean, and quick. In fact, most root canals can be performed in a single visit! Patients typically feel relief almost immediately after being given a numbing agent, never to experience discomfort on the tooth again.
Who Can Perform Root Canals?
Root canals can be performed by either a general dentist or an endodontist. An endodontist is a general dentist who specializes in root canal treatments and limits the scope of their practice to those procedures. While Dr. Walpole is not an endodontist, he has a strong interest and background in endodontics. In fact, prior to coming here to Wichita Falls, Dr. Walpole considered pursuing endodontics as a specialty, but felt that he would miss the other aspects of general dentistry too much to limit the scope of his practice to a single procedure. While he enjoys root canal procedures, Dr. Walpole believes in maintaining good relationships with the endodontic specialists in and around Wichita Falls. He refers cases with narrow canals, extra roots, or difficult anatomy to those who are best qualified to perform those procedures. If your tooth falls into that category, Dr. Walpole and his staff can schedule an appointment for you with the appropriate specialist nearest you to ensure that you receive the quality of care that you deserve.
What to Expect After a Root Canal
Because we are removing the nerve and blood vessels from a tooth during a root canal, the tooth becomes essentially like a branch severed from the trunk of a tree. If you’ve ever cut a branch from a tree and tried to break it, you’ll notice that the branch bends instead of breaking at first. But, if you take that same branch a year later and try to bend it, the branch will snap. This is because it no longer receives nutrients from the trunk of the tree. Your tooth is much like that branch. Once a root canal is performed, the tooth will no longer receive nutrients from your body and may become brittle, like that branch. This is why we recommend restoring the tooth with a crown. In certain situations, this can be done on the same visit the root canal is performed – meaning you won’t have to deal with multiple visits to fix your tooth!
After completing your endodontic treatment, Dr. Walpole uses digital scanning technology to make a virtual impression of your teeth. We then use CAD/CAM technology to design a permanent crown and then either mill or 3D print your crown right here in our office, all in just a single visit! There are no goopy impressions, no temporary crowns, and no second visits. You’ll leave with your permanent crown the same day.
After receiving your root canal treatment and your same day crown, you must still continue to brush and care for the tooth as you would a tooth that has not had a root canal. The tooth can theoretically get a cavity just like any other tooth with a crown on it, but with proper brushing and flossing, most root canals can last nearly a lifetime.
How Long Do Root Canals Last?
Many studies have shown the success that root canals have over time. One of the most in depth and comprehensive studies ever performed on root canals published in the Journal of Endodontics lists the success rate of root canals at ten years to be almost 90%. One of the biggest indicators of success is how well you maintain your teeth after root canal treatment. With proper brushing and flossing, many patients have root canals that can last a lifetime.
Root Canal or Dental Implant?
With the increasing popularity of dental implants, many patients ask whether a dental implant might be a better solution than a root canal. According to the Journal of Dental Research, root canals may have a slightly higher success rate than dental implants. However, there are certain instances where implants offer a better solution. Both root canals and dental implants have a place in modern dentistry, and determining the best solution for you can come down to a variety of factors. How much healthy tooth structure is left? What does the bone around your tooth look like? Have you had success with root canals in the past? How averse are you to having a tooth extracted? These and other questions can play a role in determining the best option for your tooth. Dr. Walpole and his staff at Bright Choice Family Dental will help you answer these questions at your visit to determine which option is right for you.
Painless Root Canals in Wichita Falls, Texas
If you live in Wichita Falls, North Texas, or the surrounding Texoma area and have been dealing with a toothache or know that you need a root canal, come see us! Dr. Walpole and his team at Bright Choice Family Dental can help you find relief and save your smile. Call to schedule your treatment with us today!