Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Root Canal Therapy

When the announcement is made that a root canal is in order, many patients feel instant apprehension, and often wonder if what they are headed for is some type of surgery. In fact, most often when a root canal is recommended, it is a “non-surgical root canal” that we are talking about. Luckily, the average case that we see responds successfully to this minimally invasive type of endodontic therapy.

ImprimirYou may be wondering, “What is the difference between a surgical and non-surgical root canal?” We are glad you asked!

We invite you to think of non-surgical root canal therapy as a really deep filling. While not exactly the same and certainly a more in-depth procedure, there are basic similarities. Both start off with drilling into the tooth, then cleaning, and then filling the hole. During a non-surgical root canal procedure, we simply drill farther than we would during a filling so that we can access the root canal (the hollow area inside the tooth with nerves) to clean it. In both cases, anesthetic is used to ensure your comfort and in both cases we fill the hole to prevent further infection.

Sometimes, however, the infection is either too significant or we simply cannot see the fracture or source of pain in an x-ray, and that is when a surgical root canal is advised. During this procedure, an incision in the gum is made so that the canal can be accessed from the side and infected tissue can be removed safely.

The good news is that most inner tooth infections, even minor ones, cause just enough pain that patients tend to get themselves to the dentist or endodontists ASAP for help before the problem gets out of hand. That is why the majority of root canal procedures are “non-surgical”.

If you are having tooth pain, give us a call to see how we can help!

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