If there’s one procedure more dreaded than any other in dentistry, it’s the root canal. However, it really shouldn’t be that way at all, and in our convenient Charlotte dental office, we utilize the most advanced technology, usually found only in root canal specialists’ offices, to make your root canal experience a totally NOT scary experience!
Root Canals Should be as Painless as a Filling or Crown
Here’s the honest truth – I have had MANY patients actually fall asleep in my dental chair while having had root canals done, even without taking sedatives. And some of those patients were huge scaredy-cats beforehand, but once we got started and they realized it wasn’t hurting, they relaxed enough to actually sleep. Admittedly, it probably helped that some of them had lost a lot of sleep due to the pain before they came in for treatment, but still – it does happen!
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, technology makes a big difference when treating infected teeth. So what kind of dental technology do we use? Here’s a quick summary, then more detailed explanations:
- Dental operating microscope (DOM)
- Dental lasers (we use 2 different lasers, depending on the situation)
- Digital x-rays
A Root Canal is Micro-Surgery, So We Use a Dental Microscope
Since teeth are pretty darn small, and working on the inside of a tooth is even smaller, it is really appropriate to consider it micro-surgery. That’s why we use a Leica M320 Dental Microscope to see at high magnification. While most endodontists (root canal specialists) these days use one, less than 7% of all family dentists use one; I’ve been using one since 2009 and literally wouldn’t do a root canal without it ever again! Honestly and truly – once I used a microscope for a root canal the first time and could see better than I’d ever imagined, I really don’t know how any dentist would do root canals without it. Simply put, the dental microscope allows me to see such incredible detail inside the tooth, I can treat it more conservatively and more effectively and faster than otherwise possible. Just look at the photo to the left, where you can actually see all the way to the tip of the tooth where it ends!
Dental Lasers to Clean and Disinfect During a Root Canal
Really and truly, the most important part of any root canal procedure is to clean the inside of the tooth as well as we possibly can, to kill off the infection that’s hurting you. We use several disinfecting solutions for this, but the most effective way we do this is by using one of our lasers, either the Periolase MVP-7 Nd:YAG or the Lightwalker Er:YAG . Both lasers are very effective at killing infection, but the Lightwalker dental laser is really awesome at also clearing out all microscopic debris out of the tooth, leaving it super-clean.
While more and more dentists are converting to digital x-rays, I can’t imagine practicing without them. We’ve been using digital x-rays since our practice opened in 1999, and they’re simply the best. With the ability to digitally enhance and manipulate the x-rays, and to enlarge them for greater detail, digital x-rays simply allow me to see more, and the more I can see, the better I know what to look for and treat inside the tooth.
Dr. Payet’s Personal Testimonial:
I know from personal experience that root canals shouldn’t hurt. Back in 2007, after getting a very deep cavity filled, one of my molars abscessed, and it hurt really badly. But a colleague got me in quickly, and let me tell you – when I went in, I was in a lot of pain; after he got me numb, I never felt anything at all, and after it was all done and the numbing wore off, there was ZERO pain. It was a piece of cake.
Do You Need a Crown After a Root Canal?
This is a REALLY important point, because after a root canal is complete, the tooth has been weakened, just like if you could take out the inner core of a tree. I’ve extracted so many teeth over the years that could have been saved, if only the patient had gotten the crown. But to give you an answer to the question, “Do you need a crown after a root canal?” the answer really is: “It depends!”
Generally, front teeth are less likely to need a crown after a well-done root canal, unless the tooth was already badly broken down by a big cavity or maybe trauma. A well-done tooth-colored filling can be perfectly fine if the hole in the back of the tooth was kept small. However, if the tooth was badly broken down by decay or being broken, then yes, a front tooth should get a bonded porcelain crown, like the ones we make with out CEREC Same-Day Crown system.
Back teeth, which means all the teeth behind your canine, or eye-tooth, almost always need a build-up filling (to fill in the hole) and crown to make the tooth last a very long time. Why? Because those are the teeth that you use the most when chewing, so they take the most force. You want them reinforced and held together as much as possible, which is what a crown does.
Convenience is a Root Canal and Crown in One Appointment
This is again where we use modern technology to the maximum for your convenience and comfort. With all of the technology listed above, we can almost always do root canals in just 1 visit (teeth that are super-infected and abscessed may still take 2 or more visits). Combine that with our CEREC Porcelain Crowns, and very often you can have your entire treatment done in just 1 visit. With just one time away from the kids, or taking time off work, we make it easy to get your treatment done quickly AND comfortably.