• Root Canals

    Everything you need to know.

  • Root Canals

    Everything you need to know.

Need a Root Canal? Book an Appointment Today!

Need a Root Canal?
Book an Appointment Today!

What is a Root Canal?

Root canals are common procedures that we perform on nearly a daily basis. They are simple procedures that involve safely removing the nerve, blood supply, and lymphatics from within a tooth’s root, followed by copious amounts of medicated irrigation and a customized cone called “gutta perchas” that is specifically shaped and inserted into your root canal to allow for healing. Root canals are safe, effective procedures that have a 98% chance of success, saving your tooth from a painful extraction.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canals are common procedures that we perform on nearly a daily basis. They are simple procedures that involve safely removing the nerve, blood supply, and lymphatics from within a tooth’s root, followed by copious amounts of medicated irrigation and a customized cone called “gutta perchas” that is specifically shaped and inserted into your root canal to allow for healing. Root canals are safe, effective procedures that have a 98% chance of success, saving your tooth from a painful extraction.

Our Process

A root canal can seem like a long strenuous task but they don’t have to be. At Smile Solutions Dentistry we do everything we can to make your procedure as quick and relaxing as possible. The following steps are taken when performing a root canal at Smile Solutions Dentistry.

Step 1

Numbing will take place with a 4% Articaine 1:100,000 (or 1:200,000) epinephrine solution or 2% Lidocaine 1:100,000 epinephrine solution. 4% Articaine 1:100,000 epinephrine will typically be used when the greatest effect of anesthesia is needed.

Step 2

A rubber dam is a non-latex material placed over your tooth with the aid of a specialized clamp. This is used for several reasons when getting a root canal. a) to ensure a sterile environment keeping all bacteria inside the mouth in and all fluids and cleaning agents out and b) to ensure instruments and tooth debris are not aspirated in a patient’s airway

Step 3

All decay (cavity) is removed from the tooth.

Step 4

Canals are accessed or found and straight-line glide paths (unencumbered pathways for dental files) are created.

Step 5

The end of a canal is found typically with a dental device called an Apex Locator or by using a small dental file and an x-ray. Finding and measuring the distance from the top of your tooth to the “apex” or end is the first step to performing a successful root canal.

Step 6

All nerves, blood supply, and lymphatics are removed from within the nerve canal space (this is one of the most important steps). Complete removal of these items will allow for proper healing of your root canal in the days and weeks to come.

Step 7

Once step 6 has been completed, the canal space, which is an oval and irregularly shaped canal, is formed into a perfect cone. This cone is custom, and the ideal shape and size is determined for your specific tooth and canal by your dental provider.

Step 8

Throughout the procedure the canal space will be irrigated with copious amounts of disinfectant materials such as 3-6% Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and sometimes 2% Chlorhexidine solutions. These medications will clear unwanted debris inside the canal and medicate the canal space to rid of all unwanted harmful bacteria.

Step 9

The canal is then dried with “paper points”. Small custom sized paper cones designed to remove any fluids and liquids from within the root canal space. This will allow for a proper seal at the end of the procedure.

Step 10

Custom Gutta Percha cones are tested specifically for each canal with appropriate “tug back” to ensure an adequate apical seal. Tug back is a feeling of resistance a gutta percha gives when the root canal space has been properly instrumented.

Step 11

An x-ray is taken to confirm the Gutta Percha’s fit.

Step 12

Once all of these steps have been performed a special sealer is used to coat the gutta percha to ensure micro leakage does not occur inside the canal space. This sealer will help aid in the healing process.

Step 13

The coronal excess portion of the gutta percha is removed with a heated instrument.

Step 14

At this time your root canal is complete and a filling will be placed over top the gutta percha to stabilize the tooth and to prevent contamination and bacteria entering the canal space from inside your mouth.

Our Process

A root canal can seem like a long strenuous task but they don’t have to be. At Smile Solutions Dentistry we do everything we can to make your procedure as quick and relaxing as possible. The following steps are taken when performing a root canal at Smile Solutions Dentistry.

Step 1

Numbing will take place with a 4% Articaine 1:100,000 (or 1:200,000) epinephrine solution or 2% Lidocaine 1:100,000 epinephrine solution. 4% Articaine 1:100,000 epinephrine will typically be used when the greatest effect of anesthesia is needed.

Step 2

A rubber dam is a non-latex material placed over your tooth with the aid of a specialized clamp. This is used for several reasons when getting a root canal. a) to ensure a sterile environment keeping all bacteria inside the mouth in and all fluids and cleaning agents out and b) to ensure instruments and tooth debris are not aspirated in a patient’s airway

Step 3

All decay (cavity) is removed from the tooth.

Step 4

Canals are accessed or found and straight-line glide paths (unencumbered pathways for dental files) are created.

Step 5

The end of a canal is found typically with a dental device called an Apex Locator or by using a small dental file and an x-ray. Finding and measuring the distance from the top of your tooth to the “apex” or end is the first step to performing a successful root canal.

Step 6

All nerves, blood supply, and lymphatics are removed from within the nerve canal space (this is one of the most important steps). Complete removal of these items will allow for proper healing of your root canal in the days and weeks to come.

Step 7

Once step 6 has been completed, the canal space, which is an oval and irregularly shaped canal, is formed into a perfect cone. This cone is custom, and the ideal shape and size is determined for your specific tooth and canal by your dental provider.

Step 8

Throughout the procedure the canal space will be irrigated with copious amounts of disinfectant materials such as 3-6% Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and sometimes 2% Chlorhexidine solutions. These medications will clear unwanted debris inside the canal and medicate the canal space to rid of all unwanted harmful bacteria.

Step 9

The canal is then dried with “paper points”. Small custom sized paper cones designed to remove any fluids and liquids from within the root canal space. This will allow for a proper seal at the end of the procedure.

Step 10

Custom Gutta Percha cones are tested specifically for each canal with appropriate “tug back” to ensure an adequate apical seal. Tug back is a feeling of resistance a gutta percha gives when the root canal space has been properly instrumented.

Step 11

An x-ray is taken to confirm the Gutta Percha’s fit.

Step 12

Once all of these steps have been performed a special sealer is used to coat the gutta percha to ensure micro leakage does not occur inside the canal space. This sealer will help aid in the healing process.

Step 13

The coronal excess portion of the gutta percha is removed with a heated instrument.

Step 14

At this time your root canal is complete and a filling will be placed over top the gutta percha to stabilize the tooth and to prevent contamination and bacteria entering the canal space from inside your mouth.

Why is a root canal needed?

Root canals are needed when bacteria has infiltrated to the “nerve” or root of a tooth. Once this happens, patients are typically uncomfortable and in pain. The only way to correct and treat the infected nerve is to perform a root canal or to extract the tooth. Antibiotics will temporarily aid in pain relief but it will not remove the infection from within the nerve.

How long does a root canal procedure take?

At Smile Solutions Dentistry, a root canal procedure can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Rarely does the procedure take longer and when it does it is because of unforeseen complications that arise during the procedure. While this is rare, these complications can be due to, but not limited to the following: calcified canals, extra canals, canals that bend at sharp angles, previously fractured roots, excessive amounts of infection, excessive bleeding, etc. Typically these issues are all maintainable and rarely create unmanageable situations.

Why is a root canal needed?

Root canals are needed when bacteria has infiltrated to the “nerve” or root of a tooth. Once this happens, patients are typically uncomfortable and in pain. The only way to correct and treat the infected nerve is to perform a root canal or to extract the tooth. Antibiotics will temporarily aid in pain relief but it will not remove the infection from within the nerve.

How long does a root canal procedure take?

At Smile Solutions Dentistry, a root canal procedure can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Rarely does the procedure take longer and when it does it is because of unforeseen complications that arise during the procedure. While this is rare, these complications can be due to, but not limited to the following: calcified canals, extra canals, canals that bend at sharp angles, previously fractured roots, excessive amounts of infection, excessive bleeding, etc. Typically these issues are all maintainable and rarely create unmanageable situations.

Why does everyone say a root canal is painful?

At Smile Solutions Dentistry, having a painful root canal experience is not common and rarely something we encounter. If the appropriate steps are followed, the risk of post-operative complications is very low. One reason patients could have discomfort during a procedure is due to difficulty receiving profound anesthesia. This is typically due to the way anesthetic agents work in our bodies. Anesthetics are basic chemicals and will neutralize in acidic environments like infections reducing their effectiveness. This can lead to sometimes uncomfortable situations. This is rarely an issue at Smile Solutions Dentistry. Typically this is solved by receiving a second or third carpule of anesthetic.

It is normal to be sore for 48-72 hours while your body is healing. Extreme pain is rare and if it occurs you should seek a dental expert immediately. Here are a few reasons you could be experiencing discomfort after a root canal procedure: a) improper irrigation, b) improper gutta percha placement, c) forceful irrigation beyond the apex of a root, d) fracture of a tooth’s root, e) an unforeseen extra canal that was not found during the procedure. These are a few of the reasons that root canals could be painful after a procedure. Due to all of these factors, it is important to seek a dental provider that you trust and has a reputation for performing root canal/endodontic procedures with a high success rate.

Why does everyone say a root canal is painful?

At Smile Solutions Dentistry, having a painful root canal experience is not common and rarely something we encounter. If the appropriate steps are followed, the risk of post-operative complications is very low. One reason patients could have discomfort during a procedure is due to difficulty receiving profound anesthesia. This is typically due to the way anesthetic agents work in our bodies. Anesthetics are basic chemicals and will neutralize in acidic environments like infections reducing their effectiveness. This can lead to sometimes uncomfortable situations. This is rarely an issue at Smile Solutions Dentistry. Typically this is solved by receiving a second or third carpule of anesthetic.

It is normal to be sore for 48-72 hours while your body is healing. Extreme pain is rare and if it occurs you should seek a dental expert immediately. Here are a few reasons you could be experiencing discomfort after a root canal procedure: a) improper irrigation, b) improper gutta percha placement, c) forceful irrigation beyond the apex of a root, d) fracture of a tooth’s root, e) an unforeseen extra canal that was not found during the procedure. These are a few of the reasons that root canals could be painful after a procedure. Due to all of these factors, it is important to seek a dental provider that you trust and has a reputation for performing root canal/endodontic procedures with a high success rate.

Are antibiotics needed after a root canal procedure?

Antibiotics are not typically needed after a root canal because the infected tissue has been properly removed from the tooth. Less than 5% of the time an antibiotic is prescribed. Typically this is due to significant signs of infection during the root canal/endodontic procedure.

What should I expect after a root canal procedure?

You should expect to have mild to moderate discomfort after a root canal lasting 24-72 hours after the dental procedure. A combination of 600 mg of Ibuprofen and 500 mg Tylenol can be taken to lessen the symptoms (follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dosages and amounts). Typically, discomfort will come from the clamp that rest near or on your gum tissue and not from the tooth or tooth’s roots. Remember the clamp is used to hold the rubber dam in place to provide an effective seal around the base of the tooth.

Why is a crown needed after a root canal?

After a tooth has had a root canal, a crown or “cap” may be recommended by your doctor. Typically, posterior teeth (teeth towards the back of your mouth) need to have a crown or “cap”. You would typically need a crown to help strengthen and protect your tooth from forceful biting forces. After a root canal has been performed the nerve, blood supply and nutrients have been deprived of the tooth causing it to be brittle over time without some form of full coverage restoration like a cap or crown. Without a crown your tooth will eventually break potentially creating an unwanted extraction scenario.

How long can I expect my root canal to last?

If performed correctly, a root canal should last as long as the tooth remains restorable. A tooth can still get a cavity on it after a root canal has been performed. It is important to practice good oral hygiene to ensure the tooth stays as healthy as possible.

Are antibiotics needed after a root canal procedure?

Antibiotics are not typically needed after a root canal because the infected tissue has been properly removed from the tooth. Less than 5% of the time an antibiotic is prescribed. Typically this is due to significant signs of infection during the root canal/endodontic procedure.

What should I expect after a root canal procedure?

You should expect to have mild to moderate discomfort after a root canal lasting 24-72 hours after the dental procedure. A combination of 600 mg of Ibuprofen and 500 mg Tylenol can be taken to lessen the symptoms (follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dosages and amounts). Typically, discomfort will come from the clamp that rest near or on your gum tissue and not from the tooth or tooth’s roots. Remember the clamp is used to hold the rubber dam in place to provide an effective seal around the base of the tooth.

Why is a crown needed after a root canal?

After a tooth has had a root canal, a crown or “cap” may be recommended by your doctor. Typically, posterior teeth (teeth towards the back of your mouth) need to have a crown or “cap”. You would typically need a crown to help strengthen and protect your tooth from forceful biting forces. After a root canal has been performed the nerve, blood supply and nutrients have been deprived of the tooth causing it to be brittle over time without some form of full coverage restoration like a cap or crown. Without a crown your tooth will eventually break potentially creating an unwanted extraction scenario.

How long can I expect my root canal to last?

If performed correctly, a root canal should last as long as the tooth remains restorable. A tooth can still get a cavity on it after a root canal has been performed. It is important to practice good oral hygiene to ensure the tooth stays as healthy as possible.

Patient Reviews

“I love coming here. They always make me feel so welcomed, and they try to have a personal relationship with all their patients, which I love because it makes the checkup seem more than just an appointment.”

“From the first step inside Dr. Miller’s office, you will be met with a professional caring staff. The office is brand new and very modern. I felt that my questions and concerns were important, and Dr. Miller took his time to address them. I would highly recommend this practice to anyone seeking dental care.”

“The staff was very friendly and attentive. When I checked in, they took me straight back. No waiting at all. I was on time and they were also. I went in with a toothache, and the staff explained everything, so no unexpected charges. You know exactly what you’re paying for.”

4.9 ★★★★★ 228 Reviews

Patient Reviews

“I love coming here. They always make me feel so welcomed, and they try to have a personal relationship with all their patients, which I love because it makes the checkup seem more than just an appointment.”

“From the first step inside Dr. Miller’s office, you will be met with a professional caring staff. The office is brand new and very modern. I felt that my questions and concerns were important, and Dr. Miller took his time to address them. I would highly recommend this practice to anyone seeking dental care.”

“The staff was very friendly and attentive. When I checked in, they took me straight back. No waiting at all. I was on time and they were also. I went in with a toothache, and the staff explained everything, so no unexpected charges. You know exactly what you’re paying for.”

4.9 ★★★★★ 228 Reviews

Compassionate Dental Care
That You Deserve

Your dental experience is optimized in a stress-free environment with a team that truly cares.

Compassionate
Dental Care
That You Deserve

Your dental experience is optimized in a stress-free environment with a team that truly cares.

704-456-9611

4291 School House Commons
Harrisburg, NC 28075

704-456-9611

4291 School House Commons
Harrisburg, NC 28075