Endodontics - Root Canals
in Pembroke Pines, FL

Dentist explaining how a root canal works by showing a patient a model set of teeth

When decay has entered the interior of a tooth, the tooth is in danger of needing extraction. That’s when a root canal is needed to save the tooth.

At Gonzalez Dental Care, we have the requisite training to perform our own root canals for our patients from Pembroke Pines and the surrounding areas. This saves the hassle of finding an outside endodontist to perform the procedure.

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is the branch of dentistry focused solely on the interior of the tooth, the pulp, along with issues surrounding the tooth roots. “Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment and root canal treatment are basically the same things. The issue is to address the inflamed or infected soft tissue inside a damaged tooth to allow the patient to save the tooth from extraction.

What procedure is typically performed by an endodontist?

Root canals are the signature procedure for an endodontist. But at Gonzalez Dental Care, we are dentists with the extra training necessary to perform root canal treatment. This makes it easy for our patients to have a necessary root canal performed in the same office where the crown will be placed atop the tooth afterward.

Who is a good candidate for a root canal?

There are two situations where a root canal would be necessary to save a tooth. The most typical case is when decay has been left untreated. Initially, the decay was working into the enamel. But left to its own devices, it penetrated the enamel and the dentin beneath. Now the decay and bacteria have entered the interior of the tooth, the pulp. A root canal will clear out the tooth and save it from having to be extracted.

The second way a tooth can develop inflammation in the pulp is from trauma or repeated dental procedures. Orthodontics can cause this trauma that will show itself years after the braces were removed. Physical trauma can also cause this inflammation.

In either of these situations, the patient will need a root canal. Although not always the case, most patients needing a root canal will know it. They will have extreme tooth pain that is radiating out through their jaw and face.

How is a root canal done?

These are the steps Dr. Gonzalez makes when performing a root canal:

  • The tooth and surrounding tissue are numbed, and a dental dam is placed to keep the area dry.
  • A small hole is drilled in the crown of the infected tooth.
  • Very small files are then inserted to clean out the entire pulp cavity and root canals, removing the pulp, decayed nerve tissues, and other debris.
  • The empty tooth is flushed with sodium hypochlorite to remove any last debris and kill any lingering bacteria.
  • The empty pulp chamber and root canals are then filled with a rubber-based material known as gutta-percha and sealed with adhesive cement.
  • A composite resin filling is placed over the access hole.
  • In most cases, a crown is then placed over the tooth to protect it and give it extra strength. To do so, the tooth is shaved down on all sides and the top and impressions are made and sent to the dental lab. We place a temporary crown on the tooth until your final crown is fabricated. Then that crown is permanently cemented onto your tooth and you’re good to go.
Endodontic root canal treatment process. Medically accurate tooth 3D illustration.

How long does a root canal take?

Root canals at Gonzalez Dental usually take from 30 to 60 minutes. More involved cases may take up to 90 minutes. That is the time it takes to clean out the decay from the tooth, along with infected blood vessels, nerves, and other tissue. The entry hole is then filled with a composite filling. Most teeth with root canals then need a crown. Crowns are custom made for you by a dental lab; placing them will take a second, short appointment.

What is the benefit of having a root canal?

There are two main benefits to having a root canal: you relieve the extreme pain that accompanies an infected tooth, and you keep the tooth. Once decay has entered the interior, the dentin, of the tooth, the infection spreads through the tooth. The nerve roots in the interior of the tooth will become inflamed; this can create significant pain. By removing all of the material inside the tooth — the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue — the source of the pain is removed.

The second benefit is that you can keep the tooth. A tooth where decay has entered the dentin is in real danger of needing extraction. A root canal removes the decay and infection. In many cases, the patient is able to keep the tooth for years, decades, even the rest of his or her life. This is a better option than having to replace the extracted tooth with a dental implant or a bridge.

What are the risks involved in a root canal?

Root canals are very successful procedures. There is a risk of a reaction to the anesthesia, but this is very rare. If some residual infection remains in the tooth, pain can return, and follow-up treatment will be necessary. But, again, this is rare.

Do root canals require anesthesia?

Root canals are one of the most misunderstood of all dental procedures. Patients associate the intense pain caused by an infected inner tooth with the root canal procedure. The reality is that a root canal is no more painful than having a regular filling placed when you have a cavity.

You need to remember that the endodontic procedure of a root canal removes everything in the interior of the infected tooth. This includes the nerves. Once the tooth is fully cleared by Dr. Gonzalez, it is given a final disinfecting wash, and then filled with a rubber material known as gutta-percha. A filling is placed to close the entry opening. The tooth is now unable to feel pain or hot or cold because it no longer has any nerves.

So, to answer the question, all that’s required for a root canal is a local anesthetic.

Dentist working on a patient mouth preparing them for a root canal procedure.

Are root canal procedures covered by insurance?

Yes, root canals are deemed a necessary procedure by insurance companies, so they cover the procedure. Root canals actually save insurance providers money, as they allow the patient to keep the tooth rather than needing extraction followed by placement of a dental implant or bridge.

Schedule Your Consultation in Pembroke Pines, FL

If you're interested in learning more about endodontics and root canals please contact us for a consultation at (305) 340-2892 or fill out our contact us form. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.