ERIC SPELLMAN, DMDGeneral & Cosmetic Dentistry
Endodontics (Root Canals)
There are few phrases that can strike fear into the heart of a dental patient the way “root canal” can. You hear people use the phrase all the time in a negative way – “I’d rather go to work than have root canal today.” or “Visiting my in-laws is about as much fun as root canal.”
So why does root canal have such a bad reputation, and what is it, exactly? Here is a secret – root canal doesn’t cause pain. Root canal is an endodontic procedure that relieves pain.
When the dental pulp in a tooth becomes damaged, or the nerve in the tooth becomes infected, severe pain can be the result. During a root canal, your dentist removes the damaged pulp and nerve, and then cleans out the inside of your tooth, and finally seals it. In this way, the infection, and the pain that goes along with it, are eliminated.
Root canals are not painful. In fact, when you have a root canal done, you’re not going to experience any more pain than you would if you were just getting a filling.
Do I Need a Root Canal?
You may not always know if you need this endodontic procedure. Sometimes, there are no symptoms. More often, though, there will be red flags, including:
- Sensitivity to heat and cold that may persist even after the source of the heat or cold is no longer present
- Severe tooth pain when chewing or closing your mouth tightly
- Darkening or discoloration in a tooth
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums
If you have any of these symptoms, we urge you to come and see Dr. Eric Spellman as soon as you can. Using digital X-rays and other tests, he can determine whether you need root canal or if your pain is due to another dental disorder.
More About the Procedure
As we have said, root canal is a lot like having a cavity filled, but it usually takes a bit longer. Before beginning the procedure, Dr. Spellman will give you a local anesthetic so that you won’t feel pain. Then he’ll remove the affected pulp and nerve, and provide you with a temporary filling so that your tooth will be protected as it heals. When the healing is complete, you’ll come back for a bit of fine-tuning in the canal, and be fitted with a permanent crown after the tooth heals to prevent fracture of the tooth root.
You may experience some pain following your root canal, but usually it will be easily managed using an over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen.
The Wave One® System
Some patients can actually have their root canal done in a single day using the Wave One system. Traditional root canal requires the use of several files, but with Wave One, just one file is used to clean out and shape the canal. Studies have shown that Wave One destroys 99.7% of the bacteria in the canal versus 58% using traditional or older rotary techniques.
Dr Spellman uses Wave One for all root canals as it kills more bacteria and causes much less post op discomfort versus other techniques with the majority of patients having no or some soreness for only a few hours.
If you’re having dental issues that may require endodontic procedures like a root canal, contact Dr. Eric Spellman in Larchmont at 914-834-2941 today to arrange a consultation. He will do an examination and let you know if you require a traditional root canal, or if the Wave One method is more appropriate for your condition.