6815 Kateri DriveGrande PrairieAB
+1 (780) 296 4075
6815 Kateri DriveGrande PrairieAB
+1 (780) 296 4075
February 8, 2022

Grande Prairie Root Canal Treatment

Teeth are more than what we see everyday. Lurking inside each pearly white is soft tissue known as pulp. Your pulp consists of blood vessels and nerves. Root canals become necessary when the pulp is invaded by bacteria or can’t heal on its own.

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment gets rid of infected or injured pulp and relieves pain.  From here on, we’ll just call this treatment a “root canal”.

It’s a multi-step procedure that typically involves:

  1. Anesthesia
  2. Removal of infected tooth and pulp
  3. Cleaning and shaping of the tooth
  4. Filling the root and crown portion of the tooth

It’s really important to protect the tooth following a root canal.  Removing the pulp gets rid of blood supply (a source of moisture), making the tooth brittle that can crack off when you least suspect it.  So, to protect the tooth, you’ll want to put a crown on it.

Why should I get a root canal?

Root canals are done on decayed, infected or traumatized teeth. When a tooth is infected, the body’s immune system can’t function properly due to the tooth’s confined space. This causes one of our least favorite sensations, a tooth ache. Removing pulp and bacteria, via root canal treatment gets rid of decay, eases pain, and allows the body to heal.

Symptoms: How do I know if I need a root canal?

You may need a root canal if you have one or more of the following:

  1. A toothache that isn’t going away
  2. Pain while chewing or biting
  3. A chipped or cracked tooth
  4. Swelling of the gum
  5. Darkening of the tooth after  an accident
  6. Pain with hot or cold food/drinks

If you’re not sure, then contact us at Wapiti Dental in Grande Prairie and we’d be happy to check it out.

What are the benefits of root canal therapy?

  1. Infection control: Stop infection from spreading by getting rid of the infected part of the tooth.
  2. Cost-effective and efficient: The alternative would be extracting your tooth, which is less expensive… but it costs a lot more to replace that tooth than to fix it with a root canal.  Not all dental clinics in Grande Prairie follow the dental fee guide, but Wapiti Dental does and we’re happy to provide pricing upfront before treatment.
  3. Saves your natural smile: Root canals save your natural tooth.
  4. Pain control: Removing the nerve gets rid of the pain associated with that toothache of yours!

What happens if I delay or wait too long?

Delaying root canal therapy is never a good idea. Never. It can cause issues like:

  1. Debilitating pain
  2. Bone loss around the roots of the tooth
  3. Gum infection
  4. Swelling around the face, eye, or neck
  5. Spread of infection
  6. You could lose your tooth!

In extreme cases, an infected tooth can even lead to life threatening conditions like Ludwig’s Angina.

Can I just take antibiotics to fix my tooth and avoid the root canal?

Nope.  This is a misconception.

Antibiotics can target the tissue supporting structure around the tooth but not the tooth itself. The source of the infection within the tooth must be removed to treat the infection. This means removing parts of the tooth and the infected pulp – antibiotics don’t treat the source of the problem.

Are root canals painful?

Nope – we’ll freeze around your tooth, which can actually provide some immediate pain relief. Some people hate needles and can’t stand the dentist.  There will be some initial pain when freezing, but we do our best to reduce pain and maximize comfort for our Grande Prairie and Peace Region patients.

What are the steps of a Root Canal?

After freezing the area, we’ll apply a rubber dam and then follow these steps:

Prepare access to the cavity

A small hole is drilled on top of the tooth to access the root. The drilled hole (cavity) is further shaped to remove decay and hold the filling material.

Cleaning and shaping

Specially designed instruments are used to remove the infected pulp and clean the canals. Irrigation of the root canal is done to clean and remove infected tissue. Canals are then shaped with files so that they can be sealed and filled.  Sometimes a temporary filling will be put on the tooth.

 Sealing of the canals

After proper cleaning and shaping, the canals are sealed and filled.

It is recommended that a crown be the final restoration on a root canal treated tooth. The crown completely covers the tooth preventing the remaining brittle tooth from breaking. Wapiti Dental is equipped with the latest technology and equipment, allowing us to offer same day crowns in Grande Prairie which reduces discomfort and time at the dentist.

Post-treatment Care

1. Brushing

You can brush and floss your teeth like normal, but maybe wait until the freezing has worn off so that you don’t accidentally bite your tongue or cheeks!

2. Foods

Eat soft foods on the day of your root canal therapy. Make sure that you don’t chew on hard, crunchy, or sticky foods such as nuts, pretzels, chips, and candies for 24 hours after the procedure.

3. Follow-up

If your root canal takes more than one appointment then make sure to attend the follow-up appointment on time. If you think that your temporary restoration will last a long time, think again. Temporary fillings can fall out and your tooth could crack. Removing cracked teeth is not fun so just come to your follow up appointments and get your tooth taken care of.

4. Pay attention:

Contact your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Temporary filling falls out
  • Gum swelling or pain for more than two or three days
  • Increasing pain
  • Allergic reaction to medications
  • Uncomfortable bite

Frequently asked questions about root canals at Wapiti Dental

Is swelling normal after a root canal?

Some swelling is normal, but if it lasts more than three days then there could be a problem and you should reach out to us.

Is it necessary to add a crown after a root canal, and how long would the crown take?

We always recommend a crown after a root canal. The benefits include:

  • Protection of the tooth
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Relief from sensitivity
  • Prevention of infection

At Wapiti Dental in Grande Prairie we offer same day crowns. This means that you can have your root canal treatment done and a crown placed on the same day. This makes for a very long appointment so unless you live out of town, it’s recommended to place the crown another day.

How long does a root canal last?

With proper care, teeth with root canals can last a long time. The long-term success of root canal treatment depends on many factors including:

  • Oral hygiene habits
  • Whether the dental crown is placed or not
  • The biting forces on the tooth
  • Timing of the treatment

It’s hard to accurately predict how long your root canal will last because there are so many factors involved. If you experience any problems with a tooth, you should see us as soon as possible. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can cause unnecessary pain and be detrimental to your smile.

Does insurance cover root canals in Grande Prairie?

Private insurance companies may offer partial to full coverage.  When you come to Wapiti Dental we will send a pre-authorization to your insurance company before treatment so that you know exactly how much of your treatment is covered.

Can a general dentist do a root canal or should I visit an endodontist?

We have the training and experience to offer successful root canals at Wapiti Dental.  In more complex cases, we may refer you to an endodontist or an oral surgeon.

How can I protect my teeth to prevent root canal therapy?

Prevention is better than cure – it’s always best to avoid the need for a root canal. You can prevent it by:

  • Brush and floss at least twice a day
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Get your teeth cleaned every three to six months
  • Avoid acidic foods and fizzy drinks
  • Avoid eating too much sugary food

What are the alternatives to a root canal?

The only alternative to a root canal procedure is tooth extraction which then needs a replacement by a bridge, implant, or partial dentures to restore functionality.

Extraction may seem a cheap option at first, but in the long run, you will have to pay more for the replacement of the extracted tooth. Bridges and implants are much more expensive.

The Bottom Line

Saving your tooth is always, always preferable over a tooth extraction.

If you are experiencing a toothache and looking for a dentist in Grande Prairie, you should contact Wapiti Dental. We’re happy to offer a great dental experience!

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