Saving Your Tooth Is Our Priority
Root Canal Procedure
The root canal procedure has a 95% success rate and is the preferred method to save an existing tooth. A root canal procedure might be required if there is severe tooth decay or trauma from a broken/chipped tooth. Typically the dental pulp and/or nerve inside the tooth may be damaged, irritated, inflamed or infected from severe tooth decay. Tooth infections lead to swelling of the gums and cheek, and can cause high levels of toothache and discomfort.
Root canal therapy is indicated for tooth decay or damage that is compromising the vitality of the tooth or has killed the tooth. The procedure removes the infection and nerve from inside the roots of the tooth and then fills the space to create a seal and keep out bacteria. The tooth is then restored with a crown or filling. Without treatment, the infection can spread from the tooth to the surrounding tissue and into the bloodstream causing pain and major medical emergencies.
How Is a Root Canal Performed?
A root canal procedure can be performed by either a general dentist or endodontist. An Endodontist specializes in root canal procedures and therefore can perform highly complex root canal procedures. The root canal procedure begins with a digital X-ray of the tooth to determine the condition of the tooth.
If it is determined that the tooth can be saved with the root canal procedure, the dentist/endodontist will apply a localized anesthetic along with sedation for ease and comfort of the patient. Our Houston Signature Smiles dentists will make sure the area is fully numb. Our in-house dental anesthesiologist that specializes in sedations will ensure you are comfortable before the start of the procedure.
An access hole will be created on the tooth to allow the dentist/endodontist to remove the infected bacteria build-up and infected area. The infected dental pulp located above the nerve and below the crown of the tooth will be the first area to be cleaned. If the nerve is also infected, it may need to be removed and cleaned. Once all the debris and infected tissue is removed and sterilized, the tooth will be sealed.
Typically, a crown may be placed to protect the tooth from contaminants and infections. Before the final seal, the dentist might prescribe medication to ensure the infection is completely eliminated. The root canal procedure will take approximately 45-90 minutes depending on the number of roots and the severity of the damage or decay. In the next visit, our dentist will seal the tooth and begin the process of restoring the tooth. The tooth will usually require a crown, and may even need a dental buildup or dental post if the tooth is severely compromised.
Signature Smiles' Root Canal Specialist
Dr. Scott Howell is our root canal specialist. He is our in-house endodontist having graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine with Dr. Terry Lee and Dr. Azi in 2006. He was hand-picked by Harvard for Endodontic Residency where his residency focus was Root Canals. This residency provide four years of additional training.
In 2013, he moved to Houston where he quickly developed the reputation as an extremely professional and gentle doctor with a high success rate.
He lives with his wife and son in Kingwood.
Dr. Howell is known for his excellent endodontic technique. Our patients are routinely amazed at his ability to numb the affected tooth. Dr. Howell then uses a Carl Zeiss Microscope that enables better magnification and therefore precision in cleaning and sterilizing the root canal. After sterilization he fills the hollow tooth with gutta percha making the tooth ready for a final restoration such as a buildup and crown.
Attention to Quality and Long Term Restorative Solutions
To ensure the best root canal therapy possible, our Houston dental office uses the highest quality dental equipment and has a specialist available for complex root canal treatments. We have a general dentist and root canal endodontist that will provide you with options on the type of root canal treatment that is necessary. You can trust that we will handle your dental care with the utmost importance. We also use high quality dental name-brand materials that ensure a pain-free, long-lasting tooth restoration.
Contact Us for Root Canal Therapy
If you live or work in the Houston Heights/Garden Oaks/Oak Forest area and have a persistent toothache or swollen gums, contact us by phone or by scheduling an appointment online.