Root Canal Therapy in Charlotte

Serving the Charlotte, NC community

The last thing that most patients want to hear is that they need a root canal. The truth about root canals, though, is that they are actually a common way to relieve pain and save a troubled tooth.

The chances are that a persistent, nagging toothache is what brought you to the dentist in the first place. Root canal therapy will eliminate that toothache—and probably save your tooth in the process.

If you are in pain and think you might need a root canal, please call the sooner you get treatment, the better. Call Dr. H. Justin Harlow and the team at Harlow Dental at Steele Creek. Eliminate the pain—and save your tooth with a root canal!

 

What is a root canal?

If the nerve in your tooth root is infected or inflamed, a root canal is often the recommended treatment. The procedure involves creating access to the interior of the tooth and then taking out the infected nerve tissue located in the root.

Dr. Harlow uses precision rotary instruments that gently remove the infected material from inside your tooth. The space is then cleaned out, disinfected, and filled to prevent further infection. In most cases, we recommend a dental crown to build the tooth back to its full form and function and to prevent the tooth structure from fracturing.

Does getting a root canal hurt?

When thinking about your comfort during a root canal, there’s an important distinction that you should understand - the discomfort of an infected root canal is the source of your pain, and not the procedure itself. While it can be hard to overcome decades of conditioning, it’s a fact that root canals don’t cause pain – they relieve it.

If you are feeling anxious about needing a root canal, you should know that with today’s modern dental techniques and equipment, it's no longer a procedure to be feared. 

How will you keep me comfortable during a root canal?

Before we begin, we use a local anesthetic to numb the area we’re treating so you won’t feel any discomfort. We’re also proud to use state-of-the-art instruments to perform root canal therapy that significantly increases your comfort. Modern rotary endodontic technology allows Dr. Harlow to offer treatment that’s more comfortable and efficient and provides predictable long-term outcomes.

Many of our patients are pleasantly surprised to find that, in the hands of a skilled, caring professional, getting a root canal is no more complicated than having a tooth filled. 

What are my sedation options for a root canal?

At Harlow Dental, we understand that anxiety about getting root canal treatment is a common problem for our patients. But it’s an essential procedure that can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

For this reason, we’re also pleased to offer the calming benefits of nitrous oxide, an odorless gas that you inhale through a small nasal mask. Breathe normally, and in moments, you will start to feel drowsy and detached from the sights and sounds around you. Nitrous oxide provides the relaxation you need, and since it leaves your body quickly, you will be able to drive yourself home from your appointment.

Why do I need a root canal? Can’t you just extract the tooth?

The goal of modern dentistry is to prevent problems from occurring but to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible if you do need treatment. The loss of just one tooth can have a significant impact on your oral health and your quality of life:

  • Self-esteem – It can be embarrassing to have a noticeable gap in your smile and to find ways to conceal it from others.
  • Appearance – Missing teeth can cause your face to sag and leave you looking older than you really are.
  • Speech – Your teeth and tongue work together to help you form words, and the loss of one tooth can make it a challenge to speak clearly.
  • Chewing – Losing certain teeth like molars make it difficult to chew comfortably.
  • Tooth misalignment – When you don’t replace a lost tooth, neighboring teeth start to drift into the open space and lead to potential tooth misalignment.
  • Bone deterioration – Bone loss in the jaw is common when a missing tooth is not replaced and can lead to loosening and even loss of additional teeth.

What are the benefits of getting a root canal?

If you feel nervous about getting a root canal, remember that the procedure takes less than two hours, but the benefits will promote better oral health for the rest of your life.

  • A root canal ends your dental pain. If you experience tooth pain, just remember that the pain you feel before treatment is far worse than anything you’ll experience with root canal therapy.
  • A root canal saves your tooth. Before modern dental technology, if you had an infection in your tooth root, extraction was usually your only option. Today, if you’ve developed an infection in the root of your tooth, a root canal will eliminate it and preserve the tooth.
  • A root canal keeps the infection from spreading.  There is always the risk that an infection will spread to other areas. Since a root canal will eliminate the infection, it also protects your healthy teeth.
  • A root canal and dental crown ensure your tooth structure is stronger than ever. During a root canal, Dr. Harlow removes the nerve and pulp from inside the tooth which saves the structure of the tooth but can also leave the tooth brittle and prone to fracture. A dental crown is recommended to to strengthen and protect the tooth so it will function just as it did prior to the procedure.

How do I know if I need a root canal?

The sooner we see you for a root canal, the more favorable the outcome will be, so it’s a good idea for you to recognize the symptoms and call our office as soon as you notice them.

  • The most common indication that you need a root canal is severe pain in your tooth that worsens over time.
  • You may also notice discomfort or sensitivity when you bite down on the tooth.
  • Sometimes an infected tooth is overly sensitive to hot and cold foods and liquids.
  • Your gums might also be swollen near the area of the infection, or you might notice a raised bump on your gum.

When you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to contact your Charlotte, NC dentist right away—especially if the pain is severe. When you call us, we can talk about your symptoms over the phone and determine if you need to come to our office immediately.

Do you perform emergency root canals?

If you need to see help immediately because you have severe tooth pain, please call our Charlotte dental office for an emergency appointment. Whether it is during the week or on the weekend, call us, and we will determine the most appropriate steps to take.

We always leave time in our schedule to accommodate our emergency patients, so there’s a good chance we can see you the same day.

Sometimes, we find that we can’t perform or complete the procedure that day. In this case, Dr. Harlow might be able to prescribe pain relievers or antibiotics for your comfort until he can finalize your treatment.

We also offer evening hours to help accommodate your busy schedule. If you are not a patient of record, we hope you will become one after we have handled your emergency!

How can I contact you if I think I need a root canal?

Dental pain, swelling, and tenderness are never a good sign and will worsen without treatment. If you are suffering from tooth pain and are worried you might need a root canal, please call Harlow Dental as soon as possible at (704) 588-1515.