Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment


Our primary goal at Gold Coast Smiles is to save your natural teeth and maintain their structural integrity whenever possible.  Root canals are present inside each tooth, containing the nerves and living tissue, also known as dental pulp, which determines the health and vitality of each tooth.  Root canal therapy, or Endodontics, is the treatment of the pulp (nerve) and surrounding tissues of a tooth.  Potentially irreversible damage can occur to these vital components when decay and infection occur within this chamber inside your tooth.  Infected pulp tissue may be the result of a number of factors including poor hygiene, large cavities, or any trauma to the face or jaw, and can contribute to greater oral health concerns.  Root canal treatment clears out sources of harm, conserving your natural dentition while preventing more serious issues from developing.


Symptoms of Root Canal


Oftentimes, patients are unaware they need root canal treatment until undergoing a complete comprehensive examination such as the one we provide at our Gold Coast Smiles dental office.  While symptoms may not all be present, we recommend seeking immediate professional evaluation if you experience any of the following:

  • Sensitivity & Pain – While not always the case but more often than not, a tooth that requires root canal therapy typically experiences quite a bit of pain or discomfort.  Patients generally complain of the inability to chew on the tooth or discomfort from simply touching it.  Often, it will hurt without being stimulated and the pain you feel may be weak or strong, sometimes strong enough to wake you up at night.  Referred pain is another sign associated with root canal treatment.  This is pain that spreads to other areas of your mouth.  If a particular molar may need root canal therapy, you could feel the pain radiate into your jaw or even your ear.  
  • Lingering Pain – One of the biggest signs you need root canal treatment is if you experience what we consider to be lingering pain.  A tooth that needs root canal treatment will be overly sensitive to both hot and cold food and beverages.  If the tooth comes into contact with hot coffee for instance, the pain will typically linger after you have finished taking your sip of coffee. This can be as little as 10 seconds or as long as several minutes regardless of the degree of pain you experience.  
  • Small Lumps Near The Tooth – Another red flag that a tooth needs a root canal is the presence of a little white, yellow or red lump that will form in the gums above the tooth.  Patients often describe it as a “pimple” or “bump” in their gums.  This small bump is called a fistula and does indeed resemble a pimple you’d find anywhere else on your skin or body.  The fistula is filled with pus and functions as the body’s natural outlet to drain any infection out of the gums and bone, typically leaving a bad taste in your mouth in the process.  When we locate a fistula in your mouth, this is typically a telltale sign that infection is present and needs to be addressed either with a root canal or other appropriate treatments.
  • Swelling – Gums that are swollen and tender are another sign you may need root canal therapy.  The gums around an infected tooth can swell up, making the tooth seem pushed out or slightly out of line compared to the other teeth around it.  This occurs due to the all the natural inflammatory processes that our body produces to combat the infection present.
  • Teeth That Have Darkened – A tooth that becomes discolored and turns darker in appearance slowly over time can indicate there is a problem with the nerve inside the tooth.  This is usually associated if the tooth has experienced some kind of trauma, like being hit, chipped or cracked and it may not manifest until years after the initial event.  It is also typically a painless condition.  Most patients who experience this darkening consult with us from a standpoint of cosmetic concern not realizing there is a functional issue with the tooth in question.  

The Gold Coast Smiles Approach to Root Canal Treatment


A root canal can often be a dreaded procedure but with modern dentistry and technology, along with our precise approach to expeditious patient care, our patients always experience great success should they require any type of endodontic care at Gold Coast Smiles.   If you are experiencing any signs of root canal symptoms, regardless of pain, we will make it a priority to get you in ASAP and properly evaluated.  There are a number of causes for dental pain, and diagnosing orofacial pain can be very complex. Not all toothaches require root canal treatment, so we perform complete evaluations to determine if root canal treatment is right for you. This will usually entail a clinical evaluation alongside advanced diagnostic imaging including digital X-rays and possibly a 3D Cone Beam scan of the tooth in question.  Often times there are other treatments that are more conservative to resolve your pain.  However, If we determine the nerve to be damaged and the tooth is structurally sound overall to be saved, it will require a root canal.

Depending on the complexity of the situation your root canal may or may not be completed at our office.  Teeth can have very unique and complex anatomy that requires a unique more advanced treatment approach.  Quality Endodontic treatment cannot be provided based on the assumption that all teeth present with the same average expected anatomy, and we are unconditionally committed to providing you with individualized care.  We believe in instances where the damage is extensive or the natural anatomy of the tooth is overly complex, it is in your best interest to see an Endodontic specialist to have your root canal treatment completed.  Our office works very closely with experienced and established Endodontic specialists who are specially trained and qualified to perform these more complex cases.  This does not mean you will experience a delay in care.  Instead, we have established a streamlined protocol with several offices where in virtually all cases our patients are seen right away for treatment, typically that same day.  Our hand picked specialists also have the technology to get you out of pain right away and oftentimes complete your root canal in a single visit.

Because we do not take a one size fits all approach towards our patient care, we feel it is in all of our patients best interest to have complex root canal treatments completed by specialists with advanced training and technology who can properly manage these cases.  By coordinating and working closely with these endodontic speciality practices, this enables us to provide you with the best quality treatment possible and the best long term outcomes that minimize future treatment failures and possible loss of teeth due to substandard care.  


What Happens After a Root Canal


Once you have successfully completed the root canal procedure, you will be advised to have a crown placed over the tooth.  Studies have revealed that dental crowns following root canal treatment significantly improved the chance of long term tooth survival.  They concluded that there was as much as a six times greater survival rate for teeth that had dental crowns placed immediately following their root canals compared to teeth that did not receive crowns following root canal treatment.  Crowns serves two critical purposes in the treatment of endodontically treated teeth:

  1. A crown will help protect and strengthen your natural tooth to prevent further cracking or fractures from occurring.  If you had breakage or an infection that led to a root canal, your tooth may be permanently compromised and may have already suffered structural damage that will make it vulnerable to fracturing. Should a tooth fracture after a root canal, it will face the risk of being extracted depending on the remainder of healthy tooth structure remaining.  With a crown, your entire tooth will be covered and it’s structural integrity maintained, protecting your natural tooth and allowing you to chew and eat without any restrictions on it.  
  2. Crowns also prevent coronal leakage. This is where contaminates from your mouth leak into your tooth’s dental restoration. If a filling that is suppose to seal the root canal material begins to wear down and leak, or other parts of the tooth also begins to wear down causing further cracks and openings to develop, this will lead to bacteria leaking into the tooth causing a new infection and ultimately failure of the root canal treatment. In these cases, the root canal would have to be re-done or the tooth possibly extracted.  A crown provides the proper long term seal to prevent any microscopic leakage from occurring and contaminating the root canal present underneath

After a root canal therapy, it is vital that you have a crown placed to maintain the health and longevity of your tooth.  If your root canal was completed at an Endodontic office, your report will be automatically forwarded to our office in order to update your records with us and signal our team to schedule an appointment for your crown.  With our Cerec same day crown technology, we’ll be able to have your porcelain crown completed in just one visit and without the use of any novocain.

We understand no one wants a root canal, but when you need one you want to make sure it is done correctly and by experienced clinicians.  Gold Coast Smiles offers top quality dental services and has an extensive history performing and if necessary coordinating root canal treatments.  Our highly accredited dental professionals place top priority on quality of care and the comfort of our patients.

Watch our testimonials to learn more about our commitment to putting patient care first!


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Gold Coast Smiles