Root Canal Treatment (RCT)
in Lone Tree Colorado

You’re in Good Hands with RidgeGate Endodontics

No one looks forward to going to the dentist for tooth pain, but it happens to the best of us. Oftentimes, oral pain is a sign of a more serious problem that will require a referral from your dentist to undergo root canal treatment by a specialist, also known as an endodontist. While this procedure may seem concerning to a patient who is unfamiliar with it, there’s no need to fret. Dr. Lawlor, DDS and her trusted team at RidgeGate Endodontics are experts at saving teeth in a safe, comfortable setting. If you have been referred to Dr. Lawlor for root canal treatment, here’s what you should know.

What is a Root Canal?

The term root canal refers to the hollow space inside the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.  While patients usually say they “had to get a root canal,” it would be more accurate to say they had to get a root canal “treatment.” During this treatment, Dr. Lawlor will numb the area locally, access into the root canal space, clean the space of inflamed or infected tissue and bacteria, and seal the space with filling material. The primary purpose of the procedure is to clean the inner portion of one’s tooth, removing infection and relieving pain, while allowing the hard root and tooth itself to remain in the patient’s mouth.

When Do You Need RCT Treatment?

Root canals can be necessary for a variety of oral health problems, including:

  • Severe tooth decay
  • Significant necessary restorations
  • Cracks or fractures within the tooth
  • Trauma or injury to the tooth

Above all, the most common sign that a patient may need a root canal procedure is pain. Experiencing discomfort or pain when you eat or drink is not normal; it’s an indicator that something is wrong, such as inflammation or infection. The sooner you discover what’s causing the pain, the faster you can restore the health and comfort of your smile.

Who Performs Root Canals?

Millions of root canal treatments are done every year in the United States, many by skilled general dentists.  However, there are circumstances when a general dentist will likely refer the patient to an endodontic specialist.

These more complicated situations include

  • Complex tooth anatomy
  • Trying to preserve dental restorations, such as crowns,
  • Complex medical histories,
  • Severe anxiety in the patient
  • Complex treatment scenarios, such as traumatic injuries.

Endodontists have an additional two years of advanced education, specialized training, and state-of-the-art equipment, such as a dental operating microscope, making them experts in terms of treating root canal problems.

What Are The Root Canal Treatment Steps?

The patient’s tooth will be numbed with a local anesthetic. A protective covering will be placed over the tooth that isolates it from the rest of the patient’s mouth.  Next, a small hole will be made to get to space inside the tooth and clean out any infected tissue and bacteria with a series of brush-type motions and rinses.  Finally, the space is dried and the root canal space is filled up with filling material. In most cases, the filling material is temporary and designed to keep the area sealed until a general dentist can take on the next phase of treatment, such as a crown, filling, or bridge.

How Painful is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatments shouldn’t be confused with the pain that precedes them. Toothaches hurt! RCT treatment is done to alleviate pain caused by toothaches. Patients shouldn’t feel anything during their root canal procedure thanks to local anesthetics that achieve profound numbness before any work is initiated. The recovery period after a root canal is typically 24-48 hours. Fortunately, very few modifications to day-to-day living are needed. It’s normal for the tooth to be mildly sore in the first few days after treatment, but steps can be taken to minimize soreness.

Does Insurance Cover Root Canals?

While every dental insurance plan is different, most insurance companies do cover at least a portion of root canal treatment. Contact Ridgegate Endodontics in Lone Tree, Colorado with your specific dental insurance plan information and our team will be happy to provide you with a more detailed estimate.

Are There Alternatives to a Root Canal?

If the need for root canal treatment has been diagnosed and advised, the alternatives are to have the tooth removed or to skip treatment altogether.  Once the tissue inside the root canal space is irreversibly inflamed or infected, a filling or crown will not solve the problem. The only options are forgoing treatment (which will inevitably lead to more infection and pain), having root canal treatment, or extracting the tooth.

If your dentist has referred you to Dr. Lawlor at RidgeGate Endodontics for root canal treatment, know that you are in the best hands. With over eleven years of experience practicing as a board-certified endodontist, Dr. Lawlor prides herself on providing her patients with exceptional, one-on-one care while restoring their teeth back to health. Should you need a root canal procedure, her friendly team is committed to making you feel as relaxed as possible while restoring the health, comfort, and function of your smile. To learn more about our quality approach and services, contact us today!