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Root canal therapy treatments at TCD Madison

Root Canal Therapy Treatments in Madison, WI

Root canal treatments, also known as endodontic therapy, are needed when an untreated dental cavity damages the nerves or pulp of a tooth. Once the pulp becomes infected, an abscess or pocket of pus from a bacterial infection can form. The infection must be treated in a timely matter to avoid potentially severe health concerns and relieve the often extreme pain you may be experiencing.

Root canal therapy from Total Care Dental is easy and fairly painless, removing infected material and helping to restore your oral health.


What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure and form of oral surgery performed to remove infected or damaged tissue (the "pulp") from inside a tooth. Pulp is a soft tissue containing nerves and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. When the pulp becomes infected or damaged, it can cause severe pain, often leading to an abscess (a pocket of pus) if left untreated.

Root canal procedures are generally performed to save a tooth that is otherwise healthy but has been damaged (such as a cracked tooth) or infected from within. The procedure can be done in one or more visits to the dentist, depending on the severity of the infection or damage to the tooth. There are around 15 million root canal procedures performed each year, with more than 41,000 procedures every day1.

Types of Root Canals

  • Anterior Root Canal: An anterior root canal is performed on a tooth in the front of the mouth, such as an incisor or canine. Anterior teeth typically have only one root, making the procedure straightforward.
  • Premolar Root Canal: A premolar root canal is performed on a premolar tooth, located behind the canine teeth. The procedure is more complex than an anterior root canal due to premolar teeth having two roots.
  • Molar Root Canal: A molar root canal is performed on a molar tooth, located in the back of the mouth. Molar teeth typically have three or more roots, making the procedure even more complex and time-consuming than an anterior or premolar root canal.
  • Apicoectomy: An apicoectomy is a type of root canal surgery performed when the tip of the tooth's root is damaged or infected. Your dentist will remove the damaged or infected tissue and seal the end of the root with a filling material.

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What are Signs You Need a Root Canal?

Dental Pain from Root Canal

Root canal treatments are necessary when an untreated dental cavity reaches all the way to the pulp or if tooth trauma causes nerve damage. Once the pulp becomes infected, it can begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (known as an abscess). The infected pulp may be painful and will require treatment as it cannot heal on its own.

Symptoms of a Root Canal

  • Sensitivity to hot, cold or sweets
  • Pain from biting or pressure
  • Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the gums
  • Pimple on the gums
  • Bad taste in the mouth

Sometimes no symptoms are apparent, and you may be unaware of any problem until a checkup. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits are your best bet for preventing the need for a root canal.

If you are having tooth pain, don’t wait. Schedule a dental appointment to get your tooth checked. A small infection may only need a filling for treatment. Catching a problem before an infection spreads to the pulp of your tooth avoids the need for a root canal in the first place. Once your tooth is infected, you need treatment as soon as possible. Failure to get a root canal can lead to more widespread infection in the rest of your mouth.

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Root Canal Therapy in Madison: How the Treatment Process is Done

A root canal is performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The damaged nerve tissue or pulp has to be removed to prevent further infection, swelling, bone loss and drainage problems in the root. An alternative treatment would be to extract the tooth, but this is not usually recommended. Tooth extraction costs more than a root canal, takes a longer treatment time and requires additional procedures for the adjacent teeth and tissues.

Although root canals are said to be quite painful, many patients report treatment is no more painful than getting a filling. In fact, the tooth pain leading up to the root canal procedure is more painful than the treatment itself. 

A Typical Root Canal Procedure

  • Diagnosis: The extent of the infection and shape of the root canals are examined from an x-ray.
  • Pulp Removal & Replacement: Local anesthesia is used near the affected tooth. A hole is drilled in the tooth, removing pulp, bacteria, decayed nerve tissue, and other debris using root canal files.
  • Crown Placement: The canal is filled in, preventing further infection.

Some dentists prefer to seal the tooth in the same appointment, while others choose to wait a week and treat the tooth with medication to ensure the infection is gone. If the tooth is not sealed the same day, a temporary filling protects the hole in the meantime. Usually, a core build-up and dental crown, or a cap to cover the tooth, are recommended by our Madison restorative dentistry team for patients who have undergone root canal therapy.

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Post Root Canal Treatment Aftercare

After your root canal, your tooth may be sensitive for a few days due to inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers should allow you to return to your normal daily activities the next day. If good oral hygiene is practiced at home in addition to preventative care including regular dental visits, your restored tooth can remain healthy.


Root Canal Payment Plans

A painful infection should not be ignored because of financial concerns. Many Madison area patients believe they cannot afford root canal treatment without dental insurance. At Total Care Dental, this isn’t true. Our financial dental plans make everything from a root canal to a typical checkup affordable for everyone. We accept cash, personal check, credit cards, CareCredit, Illumisure, and most major insurance plans.


Frequently Asked Questions About Root Canals

What is a root canal?

What are signs I might need a root canal?

What are the benefits of getting a root canal?

Are root canals painful?

How much do root canals cost?

Why do dentists push for root canals?

Can you do a root canal in one visit?



No Insurance? We've Got You Covered.

Total Care Dental offers multi-level payment options for a variety of dental care services at our Madison, WI location. Enjoy routine checkups, cleanings, x-rays, periodontal preventative care and more without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies that don't value your time or health needs.

Benefits include:

  • Green Check White Background - Verified and approved against a clean white background, just like our green check! Low-cost monthly payments
  • Green Check White Background - Verified and approved against a clean white background, just like our green check! 10% off additional treatments
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Meet the TCD Madison Dentists

Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable professionals create a warm, inviting atmosphere, ensuring patients of all ages feel welcome. At TCD, we treat every patient like a member of our family.

Dr. Brett Clark

Dr. Brett Clark

Dentist & Owner

Little League Coach, Barefoot Water Skier, Exercise Junkie, Super-Dad!

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Dr. Jason Vandehaar

Dr. Jason Vandehaar

Dentist & Owner

Eagle Scout, Badger Fan, Dog Lover, Lifeguard, Hater of Shredded Coconut!

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Dr. Tammy Kalsow

Dr. Tammy Kalsow


Positive, loving, nurturing spirit. 

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Dental Hygienist

Positive Spirit, Team Leader, Hockey Mom; "A family that flosses together stays together!"

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Dr. Tammy Kalsow
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