Root Canal Therapy

“My Tooth Hurts… Do I Need a Root Canal?”

What is a Root Canal and How Can My Dentist Help?

Tooth pain can cause anxiety, especially when you’re worried about what to do and how much it will cost. It can be scary to consider that you’ll need an invasive procedure or even lose the tooth, but it’s important to know that your dentist is here to help. Tooth pain can indicate a serious issue, but your dentist can intervene and help preserve your tooth’s function with the right steps. If your tooth hurts or is sensitive or swollen, it might be the result of decay, which means it can be easily fixed.

Tooth decay begins to happen when bacteria eat away at the enamel, and you can often tell this is happening when it hurts to bite or chew. This is because the enamel is weakened and there’s less protection between the underlying nerves and the outside world. When the decay becomes advanced, it can affect the deep structures of the tooth and nerves, causing pain even when you don’t put pressure on it. When detected early, tooth decay can be easily corrected with a simple composite filling or similar restorative technique. When the decay becomes an infection that spreads beyond the outer layers of the enamel and invades the pulp and root, a root canal is usually necessary.

At New York General Dentistry, we use the latest technology and equipment to make sure your root canal procedure is as non-invasive and pain-free as possible. A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed by dentists and endodontists. A root canal is designed to eliminate bacteria that have infected the internal canal system of a tooth and prevent reinfection in the future. This treatment helps save your natural tooth and restore its function through minor surgical techniques. Additionally, a root canal can effectively relieve pain associated with a damaged or infected nerve. If you experience lasting pain or sensitivity, Dr. Chern can recommend your next steps. At New York General Dentistry, we use the latest technology and equipment to make sure your root canal procedure is as non-invasive and pain-free as possible.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Lingering Pain

Serious pain when you eat or put pressure on an area can be a sign of infection. Additionally, if the area still hurts after the pressure subsides (or even without pressure), you should see your dentist.

Hot or Cold Sensitivity

If it’s extremely uncomfortable or even painful when you eat hot or cold foods, it can be a sign that decay has begun to expose the underlying nerves. This is especially true if the pain or sensitivity lingers even after you’re done eating.

Swelling in the Gums

Gums that are swollen or have small bumps around the area where you experience pain can indicate that you’ll need to see your dentist to discuss whether you need a root canal.

Darkening of the Tooth

A change in color, especially darkening, is a sign that the tooth may be infected. If the tooth appears gray against the surrounding teeth, it can mean that the underlying structures have begun decaying.

The Root Canal Process and What to Expect

Your First Appointment (60-75 minutes)

  • Dr. Chern and our team will ensure you are completely comfortable and relaxed while we talk you through the process and what to expect. Then, you’ll be given anesthesia so that you don’t experience any pain or discomfort during the process. 
  • A rubber dam will be placed on the tooth to ensure a sterile environment.
  • The internal parts of the tooth will be debrided and cleaned of decay and infected tissue.
  • If there is no excess of infected and inflamed tissue, gutta-percha (a specialized filling material) will be placed and a temporary filling will close off the internal structure of the tooth.
  • A final x-ray will be taken to confirm completion of the process and a subsequent crown appointment will be scheduled. A crown is a cap placed over the tooth that can ensure the tooth is not reinfected– and that the tooth looks and works like normal.

Your Second Appointment (30-60 minutes)

  • Occasionally, it’s determined at the first appointment that the tooth is too infected to seal off and medication is placed inside the tooth to allow it to heal.
  • The rubber dam is placed again and the tooth is re-accessed to remove the medication. If proper healing has occurred, then gutta-percha is placed.
  • A temporary filling is placed and a final X-ray is taken to confirm proper completion and a subsequent crown appointment is scheduled.

Caring For Your Teeth After A Root Canal

Taking good care of your teeth will guarantee they stay healthy and functional for a lifetime. Follow these care tips after your root canal to ensure your dental work lasts a lifetime:  

  • Eat a healthy soft diet until the crown and the permanent restoration is placed
  • See your dentist regularly (every 4-6 months) for a hygiene appointment
  • Brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes with a soft or electric toothbrush
  • Floss every day or use a water flosser (Waterpik)
  • Have a dental x-ray taken of the root canal once a year to ensure proper healing

Root Canal FAQ’s

Can a root canal infection spread?

A root canal infection can spread to neighboring teeth and throughout the jaw bone and head/neck region.

Can a tooth have 2 root canals?

The number canals varies on the tooth and it's location in the mouth. Teeth have between 1-5 canals

Can I eat after root canal?

You can eat as soon as the anesthesia wears off. Until the tooth is restored, it is important to eat soft foods.

Can root canals be redone?

If a root canal gets infected or is not adequately cleaned, it is possible to redo a root canal.

Can antibiotics heal an infected root canal?

Antibiotics do not completely deal a root canal infection. They will help reduce the infection but ultimately the root canal must be retreated.

Can you get a root canal and crown in the same day?

It is not advised to get a root canal and crown on the same day. The tooth needs to heal for several days before a crown can be placed.

Can I drive home after a root canal?

Unless you were sedated, you can absolutely drive home after a root canal with local anesthesia.

Can you rinse with salt water after a root canal?

Rinsing with salt water after a root canal will help the gum tissue heal faster from any clamps that were placed to isolate the tooth.

Can you use a straw after a root canal?

You can use a straw after a root canal as soon as the temporary filling has hardened.

Does root canal hurt during procedure?

A root canal should never hurt during the procedure. The dentist must give you adequate anesthesia so the area is numb and painless.

Do all root canals need a crown?

All posterior teeth need a crown because they have higher biting forces. Anterior (front) teeth do not always need a crown as they get less force while biting.

How can I prevent a root canal naturally?

Preventative care is very important in root canal prevention. A root canal is preventable by removing cavities while they are small and far from the nerve space.

Do I need crown after root canal?

All posterior teeth need a crown because they have higher biting forces. Anterior (front) teeth do not always need a crown as they get less force while biting.

How do I get rid of a tooth infection without a root canal?

The only alternative to a root canal is to extract the tooth with the infection.

How do you prepare for a root canal?

You should eat and drink a solid meal and try your best to relax.

Do they numb you for a root canal?

Local anesthesia is used with all root canal procedures. You will be numb during and after the root canal.

How many appointments do you need for a root canal?

Depending on the complexity of the root canal, the treatment may take 1-3 visits averaging 45-60 minuets.

How does a root canal work?

The area is numbed, an isolation sheet is placed around the tooth and the infected tissue is removed from the canals. After the tooth is clean, a root canal filling is placed and the tooth is temporized till a permanent filling is placed on a subsequent visit.

How is a root canal done on a front tooth?

The area is numbed, an isolation sheet is placed around the tooth and the infected tissue is removed from the canals. After the tooth is clean, a root canal filling is placed and the tooth is temporized till a permanent filling is placed on a subsequent visit.

How is a root canal tooth removed?

The area is numbed, an isolation sheet is placed around the tooth and the infected root canal filler is removed from the canals. After the tooth is clean, a new root canal filling is placed and the tooth is temporized till a permanent filling is placed on a subsequent visit.

How long does a root canal take?

Depending on the complexity of the root canal, the treatment may take 1-3 visits averaging 45-60 minuets.

Is throbbing pain after root canal normal?

Throbbing is normal after any dental procedure especially if a rubber dam was placed on the tooth.

Is the tooth dead after a root canal?

The tooth has no nerve after a root canal. It no longer has sensation so people like to deem it "dead".

Is a root canal painful?

A root canal should never hurt during the procedure. The dentist must give you adequate anesthesia so the area is numb and painless. A little bit of sensitivity is normal up to one day after the procedure.

Is it easier to pull a tooth after a root canal?

A tooth with a root canal can be more brittle and break during an extraction. Pulling a root canal treated tooth is not easier.

What are the disadvantages of root canal?

There are no disadvantages to saving a tooth with root canal treatment if the treatment is restored properly.

What are the two stages of a root canal?

The initial stage of the root canal is to remove the diseased tissue and the second stage is to fill up the space of the nerve.

What causes tooth pain after root canal?

Tooth pain after a root canal is usually a sensation of throbbing caused by the dental instruments used to clean the canal space. It usually subsides with in a day.

Should I take ibuprofen before root canal?

You should check with your dentist prior to taking medication before any procedure. NSAIDS are usually given after a root canal.

Should I take time off work after a root canal?

It is usually unnecessary to take time off after a root canal.

What are the complications of a root canal?

Complications of a root canal are rare but include re-infection, fracture and swelling.

What happens if you wait too long to get a root canal?

If you wait to long to get a root canal , you may have pain, swelling and possibly loose the tooth.

What does the beginning of a root canal feel like?

A root canal is done under anesthesia and feels like getting a filling or any other routine dental care.

What should I avoid after a root canal?

You should avoid very hard foods till the root canal is completed and a final restoration is placed.

Why do root canals take two appointments?

If the root canal has many roots and is complicated by infection, a dentist may need to complete treatment in two visits.

What is the alternative to a root canal?

The only alternative to a root canal is to extract the tooth with the infection.

What is the point of a root canal?

A root canal removes diseased tissue from the internal aspects of the tooth.

Why do you need a temporary filling after a root canal?

You need temporary filling until a permanent is placed at a subsequent visit. In the interim the tooth heals.

What is the second stage of root canal?

The second stage of a root canal fills the space where the nerve was removed..

What Makes Our Office the Right Fit for Your Dental Needs?

Personalized Care

Dr. Chern will evaluate your damaged tooth, working carefully with our team to ensure your root canal therapy is customized to your needs. We’ll explain each step and make sure you understand your short-term and long-term treatment plan.

Comfortable Office

When you visit our Midtown East dentist office for a root canal, we’ll help you feel calm and relaxed throughout the entire appointment. We understand that needing a root canal can be scary, so we’ll make sure you’re informed and comfortable.

Toothache causes New York General Dentistry

Health-First Approach

Using the most advanced techniques and equipment, we’ll ensure your root canal is a success– and that you can enjoy great oral health for the long term. Our attention to detail is unparalleled!

“I have been Dr. Chern’s patient for several years now and I have no intention of ever finding another dentist. When you find an amazing dentist, you stick with them. She’s honest, professional, and knows what she’s doing. Her staff is just as amazing.”

– David K.
“There are many ways to achieve the smile of your dreams. Let’s talk about how we can make it happen.”

Meet With Dr. Chern &
Her Manhattan Team

The root canal remains one of the best ways to preserve your tooth’s functions and prevent more serious complications. To meet with Dr. Chern and our team, we invite you to schedule an appointment at our comfortable Manhattan office by calling or filling out our online form.

Our New York City Office

Midtown East Manhattan

212.838.0842

150 E 58th St., 8th Floor Annex
New York, NY 10155
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Hours:
Monday 8am – 7pm
Tuesday 8am – 5pm
Wednesday 8am – 5pm
Thursday 8am – 7pm
Friday 8am – 5pm
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Sundays – Available by request for special cases and dental emergencies

“One of the most wonderful dentists I have ever been to. Inna is kind, compassionate, and truly cares about her patients. I was always afraid of dentists until I met Inna. Highly recommend her for any dentistry needs – and if you would like your dentist to be your new best friend!”

– Abhi G.

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New York General Dentistry is always welcoming new patients to our Midtown East dentist office.

Feel free to send a text to (929) 244-8140 or call (212) 838-0842