Our experienced dentist may recommend a root canal to help you regain your oral health. This endodontic treatment is often the only alternative to tooth extraction and is almost always the preferred treatment option as it allows you to maintain your original tooth and continue using it for years to come. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Jafari and learn if root canal therapy in Sterling, Virginia, is right for you, contact Inova Dental Clinic at 703-433-1400.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy, frequently referred to as a root canal, is a specialized form of endodontic treatment recommended when infection or damage infiltrates the tooth’s inner pulp and nerves. This situation often arises due to injury or decay that penetrates deeply into the tooth, breaching its outer enamel layer. Ignoring such issues can lead to the death of the tooth, necessitating an extraction. Our dentist may recommend root canal therapy as a means to salvage the tooth’s health and circumvent the requirement for extraction and subsequent replacement of the tooth.

The Root Canal Procedure

During this procedure, our dentist will carefully extract the infected and damaged tissues from the tooth’s interior, thoroughly cleaning the tooth to remove all infection, decay and damage. This cleaning is followed by filling the tooth with a medicated substance, promoting healing and helping prevent reinfection. The tooth is then capped using a restoration, such as a dental crown, returning it to its original form and function. Most root canal cases only require one or two office visits to complete.

Contrary to popular belief, root canal therapy is not as uncomfortable as its reputation suggests. With advanced techniques, tools and anesthesia, the procedure is generally completed with minimal discomfort. Our dentist and team are committed to ensuring your visits are as pleasant and painless as possible.

Root Canal FAQs

How do I know if I need a root canal?

You may experience symptoms of severe oral discomfort upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain to hot or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed), darkening of the tooth, swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums and a persistent or recurring pimple on the gums.

What happens if I delay or avoid getting a root canal?

Delaying or avoiding a needed root canal can lead to worsening infection, increased pain, and potential spread of infection to surrounding tissues. In severe cases, it may result in the loss of the tooth and the need for more extensive dental treatment.

Is a root canal painful?

Many people believe that root canals are extremely painful, but with modern technology and anesthesia, most patients report that the procedure feels similar to dental fillings. You may experience some soreness or mild discomfort in the days following the procedure, which can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medications.

What is the success rate of root canal treatments?

Root canal treatments have a success rate of 85-95%. However, the success of the treatment depends on factors such as proper diagnosis, thorough cleaning and shaping of the root canals, and effective sealing of the tooth afterward.

Can a root canal treatment affect neighboring teeth or gums?

A root canal treatment typically focuses solely on the affected tooth and should not directly impact neighboring teeth or gums. However, if there is significant infection or inflammation present, it is possible for the infection to spread to surrounding tissues if left untreated.

How long does a root canal treatment last and how do I care for my tooth afterward?

They can last a lifetime with proper care. To ensure the longevity of your treatment, maintain good oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and going to your regular dental appointments. Avoid chewing on hard foods with the treated tooth until it has been fully restored with a crown or filling to prevent it from breaking.

Can a tooth with a previous root canal treatment become infected again?

While uncommon, it is possible for a tooth with a previous root canal treatment to become reinfected. This can occur if new decay develops, the restoration on the tooth fails or if the tooth fractures, allowing bacteria to enter the pulp chamber.

Schedule a Consultation

We encourage you to call our office if you have any questions about root canal therapy or to schedule your appointment with our skilled dentist. Your oral health and smile is our top priority.