Root canal procedures are a type of endodontic (tooth root) therapy. It’s a common procedure that dentists perform every day to save teeth that would otherwise need to be extracted. More than 15 million root canals are performed each year in the United States with a 95% success rate or higher. 

If your child or teen may need a root canal and you’re searching online for Denver root canal, root canal in Aurora CO, root canal in Thornton CO, or if you have any questions about root canals or other dental procedures, call us today. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected].

Why is a Root Canal Performed?

A root canal is a type of endodontic treatment. The word endodontic comes from the Greek words “endo” and “odont” which means inside a tooth. Root canal therapy is necessary when the root of your tooth becomes infected or damaged, and the inflamed pulp is removed

An infection in nerve tissue or pulp inflammation can cause a lot of pain, and if left untreated, it can lead to loss of the tooth or even a spread of infection. It also eliminates the need for a tooth extraction in the future and a subsequent dental implant.

Tooth Anatomy

To better understand why a root canal is necessary, it’s helpful to know a little bit about the anatomy of a tooth. Each tooth is made up of three main layers:

  • The enamel-This is the hard, white outer layer of the tooth that you can see.
  • The dentin-This is the layer under the enamel that makes up the majority of the tooth.
  • The dental pulp-This is the innermost layer of soft tissue under the dentin, which contains blood vessels, nerves, and other connective tissue. It extends from the root of the tooth to the tip of the root canal.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

There are several signs that you may need root canal therapy. If you experience any of the following, you should see your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Severe pain when chewing or applying pressure to the tooth
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures even after the stimulus has been removed
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • Pimple on the gums

Do Children Need Root Canals?

Although root canals are most commonly performed on adults, they may also be necessary for children. Baby teeth usually don’t need root canals because the pulp chamber is much smaller. However, if a baby tooth becomes infected, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth and prevent the infection from spreading.

What is a Pulpotomy? 

If your child has a deep cavity in a baby tooth, your dentist may recommend a procedure called a pulpotomy. This procedure is similar to a root canal, but it’s only performed on the pulp chamber of the tooth, not the root. A pulpotomy can help save a baby tooth until it’s ready to fall out on its own.

The Root Canal Procedure

Root canals are usually performed by dentists or endodontists (root canal specialists). The endodontic procedure is generally done in one or two visits.

  1. During the first visit, your dentist will numb the area around the infected tooth with local anesthesia. Next, they will use a rubber dam to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and dry. Once the tooth is isolated, your dentist will make an opening in the enamel so they can access the pulp chamber.
  2. Your dentist will use special instruments to remove the infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canal. Once the pulp is removed, the root canal will be cleaned, shaped, and disinfected. A rubber-like material called gutta-percha will be placed in the root canal. This is a permanent bandage that will stay in place indefinitely.
  3. In some cases, a root canal can be completed in one visit. However, if the tooth is severely infected or has multiple curved canals, your dentist may place a temporary filling in the root canal and schedule you for a second appointment. During the second appointment, the root canal will be permanently sealed.
  4. After a root canal, you may have permanent crowns or other restorations placed on the tooth to protect the tooth from further damage and prevent reinfection. A crown is made to look like a natural tooth and can restore function and appearance.

After the Root Canal Procedure

Most people feel minor pain after a root canal procedure. The area may feel numb for a few hours after the procedure, but this is normal. You may also experience tenderness in your gums for a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve discomfort. (Note: Always take medications according to the directions on the label.)

You may experience some temporary sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. This is normal and should resolve within a few weeks.

Good oral hygiene is essential after a root canal procedure. Be sure to brush and floss regularly and see your dentist for regular checkups. With proper care, your root canal-treated tooth can last a lifetime.

It is important to call your dentist right away if you experience any of the following after a root canal procedure:

  • severe pain that doesn’t go away
  • swelling in your face
  • pus coming from the root canal site
  • a fever

Complications of a Root Canal

Root canals are generally safe. Complications are rare, but can occur. Possible complications include:

  • Infection: If the root canal procedure is not performed properly, bacteria can remain in the tooth and cause an infection leading to abscesses or cysts that may damage the surrounding tissue.
  • Injury to adjacent teeth: If the root canal instruments are not used properly, they can damage adjacent teeth.
  • Nerve damage: In rare cases, the nerve to the tooth can be damaged during the root canal procedure, resulting in pain, numbness or tingling in the lips, gums, tongue, or chin.
  • Fracture: In rare cases, the root canal-treated tooth can fracture. This is more likely to occur if the tooth is already weakened by decay or injury.
  • Root canal retreatment: In some cases, the root canal procedure may not be successful in sealing off the root canal. This can allow bacteria to reenter the tooth and cause an infection. If this happens, you may need to have the root canal procedure repeated (retreated).
  • Apicoectomy: In rare cases, if retreatment is not possible, you may need to have a surgical procedure called an apicoectomy. During an apicoectomy, the surgeon will make an incision in your gums and remove the root tip. The root canal will then be sealed. 

Does Insurance Cover a Root Canal for Children?

According to Health First Colorado, Children ages 20 and under who are enrolled in Medicaid are entitled to restorative procedures such as amalgam and tooth-colored fillings, crowns, root canals, gum, and oral surgery procedures. On certain procedures, the dentist must receive approval from Medicaid before providing these services. So be sure to check before scheduling your appointment.

Denver Root Canal Specialist

If you think you or your child or teen may need a root canal and you’re searching online for Denver root canal, root canal in Aurora CO, root canal in Thornton CO, or if you have any questions about root canals or other dental procedures, call us today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and schedule an appointment for you. Root canals are safe, and effective and can save your tooth from further issues. Don’t wait to get the treatment you need. 

Visit us in Denver at Denver Youth Dental and Vision and Hampden Youth Dentistry and Orthodontics. We also serve the Thornton and Aurora population. Visit us at Aurora Youth Dental and Vision and Thornton Youth Dentistry. We aim to help you make the best decision for your child’s smile. Call (303) 953-8801 to book an appointment with Dr. Jodi or email [email protected]. We look forward to helping you with your dental needs!