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Dental Arts of Florida
7645 Gate Parkway, #103, Jacksonville, FL 32256
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Root Canal

If you have a toothache, unexplained bleeding, or any other signs/symptoms of a dental problem, it's important to schedule a dental visit right away. When addressed early, most dental issues can be stopped before they escalate. However, if left untreated, decay can get into the dental pulp, which is the soft center of your tooth.

When this happens, many people believe that extraction is the only answer. However, this will only create additional issues. Typically, the dentist will recommend procedures designed to save the structure of the natural tooth. This is known as root canal treatment.

Dr. Fred Tepedino at Dental Arts of Florida in Jacksonville offers a variety of general, cosmetic, and restorative dental procedures including root canals.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment, more commonly referred to as simply "root canal" is a procedure in which the dental pulp is removed. The pulp is the soft center of the tooth where the nerves and blood vessels are located.

How do you know if you need a root canal?

There are several signs and symptoms that indicate you may need root canal treatment:

  • Persistent/chronic toothache
  • Abscess
  • Swelling around affected tooth
  • Sensitivity to heat/cold and sweets
  • Discoloration
  • Loose tooth (mobility)
  • Chipped/cracked tooth  

Does Root Canals Hurt?

In the past, root canal treatment could be extremely painful- which is why so many people opted to either ignore the problem or have the tooth extracted. However, technology and anesthesia options have advanced so this isn't as much of a problem. In fact, research from the American Association of Endodontists reveals that patients who undergo root canal therapy are 6x more likely to be pain-free than someone that does not. 

The dentist will start by administering local anesthesia prior to the procedure. This will prevent pain during the procedure. After the procedure, you may have some minor sensitivity and discomfort as the anesthesia wears off. This can typically be managed with OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Over the next few days, the pain/discomfort should gradually decrease. If you are still having pain and/or swelling, you may need a second treatment. Many patients need more than one session for treatment to be successful. Once the treatment is complete, a cap will usually be placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

How long does a root canal take?

A simple root canal can be done in 30 to 60 minutes. However, on average, you can expect to spend 90 minutes or more in the chair.

How Does a Root Canal Work?

The dentist starts by administering local anesthesia to numb the affected area. This will allow you to relax while the work is being done. A hole will be drilled in the tooth and the infected pulp will be removed. Once all of the pulp is out of the tooth, the inside of it will be disinfected.

When the tooth is thoroughly clean, a biocompatible material will be used to fill the tooth and support it from the inside. The hole will be sealed with a dental filling and a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth. In a few weeks, a permanent crown will be ready.

Are root canals painful?

In the past, both the procedure and recovery from root canal treatment could be moderately painful. Thanks to the advancements in dental technology and anesthesia, this procedure is no more painful than a tooth extraction. In fact, many people are able to return to their normal routine the day after their procedure. However, everyone is different, therefore, you should consult with the dentist to find out how much recovery time you may need.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

There are several signs and symptoms that indicate you may need root canal treatment, including:

  • Persistent, Chronic Toothache

    One of the first signs you may need root canal treatment is a persistent, chronic toothache. However, it is important to note that this is also a sign/symptom of other issues too. The only way to be sure is to have a dental exam.

  • Abscess

    When you have an infection, sometimes a pocket of pus will form along the gumline near the affected tooth. The pus may ooze from the pocket, leaving an unpleasant taste in your mouth. If you have an abscess, it's important to visit the dentist as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body.

  • Swelling around Affected Tooth

    In some cases, the gums around the affected tooth may swell. This swelling is due to waste products from the dead tooth pulp. The area may or may not be tender to the touch.

  • Severe Sensitivity

    If your teeth are sensitive to heat/cold or sweets, you may need root canal treatment. In addition, if you feel sensitivity/pain when pressure is put on the affected tooth, you may want to consider root canal treatment.

  • Chipped/Cracked Tooth

    A chip or crack in your tooth allows bacteria to get inside of the tooth. When this happens, the pulp is more susceptible to infection. Therefore, any time you have a crack or chip in your tooth, it's important to visit the dentist as soon as possible.

  • Loose Tooth

    If a tooth is infected, it may feel loose due to the waste products from nerve death causing the bone to soften. If you have more than one tooth that feels loose, you may have a different problem.

FAQs about Root Canals

Dr. Tepedino and the team at Dental Arts of Florida acknowledge that a patient who is informed is more likely to be satisfied with their treatment. This is why he takes time with each and every patient to make sure that all questions/concerns are addressed. Here are a few of the common questions we've gotten:

You should not try to eat until the anesthesia has worn off. If you try to eat while your mouth is still numb, you may bite down on your cheek, tongue, or lips. After the anesthesia wears off, you can eat- but you may want to stick with soft foods at first and avoid chewing on the side of the root canal.

If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you not smoke immediately following your root canal procedure. We recommend that you wait at least 72 hours to avoid complications

Most patients are able to drive following root canal treatment because only local anesthesia is used. However, patients who require sedation will need to make sure to bring someone that can drive them home and sit with them until the anesthesia wears off.
When you do eat following your root canal procedure, you should start with soft foods and avoid chewing on the side of the procedure. You can transition back to your typical diet as you feel ready.
No, patients are typically not sedated for root canal treatment. However, we do offer sedation for patients who have anxiety or who are unable to be still for an extended period of time.

Love the customer service and professionalism of the staff. Great location, convenient and typically able to get appointments in a matter of days.

Tanya Philyaw

Great office staff and exemplary care. Same day appointments for urgent issues and state of the art office. Also handles most dental concerns. Highly recommended.

Laurel Groff

I Thought Dr Trepidino was first class professional and knew what he was doing... Very polite. And kind. And his staff were gregarious folks as well..

Troy Wilson

Fantastic Staff, great job taking care of the patient to make sure they are comfortable at all times. Doctor is amazing. Can't say enough about this Dentist.

Dan Simon
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Get To Know Your Doctor

Fred Tepedino, DMD

Specializes in General, Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry

Dr. Fred Tepedino comes from a long line of dentists spanning four generations. He received his Doctorate in Dental Medicine from Nova Southeastern University and graduated with Honors in Periodontology. Always furthering his education and abilities, Dr. Tepedino continued his surgical training to achieve a Fellowship with The International Dental Implant Association and training in Advanced Alveolar Reconstruction. Taking the time to listen to his patients and hear their perspective on their oral health and dental needs, Dr. Tepedino establishes trust and rapport with them. Ever a perfectionist, Dr. Tepedino provides a high level of care and skill that truly set his practice apart.

Meet Dr. Fred Tepedino
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Dental Arts of Florida

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