Radio Spot – Root Canals

Ben: Thanks for joining us, say on 1440 KUHL. It is Thursday and time once again for Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth. And today, we’re talking root canals. Not really a pleasant thing, but we’ll kind of get to the bottom of this. But first of all, Doctor Dino Bonyadi’s with us in studio and Doctor, thanks for joining us today.

Dino Bonyadi: Thank you, Ben.

Ben: Well first of all, what is a root canal?

Dino Bonyadi: Well, to understand what a root canal is, first you have to know a little bit about the anatomy of the tooth. Every adult tooth has a crown portion, which is what you see in the mouth. And then there is also a root portion, which is in the bone, supporting the tooth. Now, inside the crown portion of the tooth, there is a little space. We call it the chamber, a pulp chamber, which the nerves, blood vessels, and certain tissues reside and live there.

Dino Bonyadi: When decay, which is comprised of bacteria, reaches that pulp chamber, the bacteria penetrate that space and cause infection of that space. Now once this happens, the infection pushes out into the bone, and that’s when patients start feeling pain. And usually it’s a throbbing, unprovoked pain. That means you could just be sitting there doing nothing, and the tooth will be throbbing with your heartbeat.

Ben: Now, this is necessary if that nerve becomes exposed?

Dino Bonyadi: Yeah. Well either nerve becomes exposed or decay reaches it. Now, in some very rare cases, we see cases where root canal is necessary even though the tooth has no decay on it. Sometimes there are micro-fractures, or sometimes because of bruxing, grinding, as we discussed in our other programs, causes the nerve to generate calcium deposits inside of it. And that can also suffocate and kill the nerve, therefore ending up needing a root canal.

Ben: Sure. So, Doctor, what’s the procedure for a root canal? I mean, how long does it take?

Dino Bonyadi: I see in my practice, when I mention the word root canal, patients’ eyes open up wide, and they automatically start getting nervous. I want our audience to know that technology today is far different than what it was 20, 30 years ago.

Dino Bonyadi: Root canals can be done painlessly with excellent outcome. Now, in some instances where patient has neglected their teeth and they have severe infection, then in those instances, sometimes there may be post-operative pain and discomfort. But most of the time, no, it’s not at all.

Ben: We’re speaking to Doctor Dino Bonyadi. Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth. We’re talking about root canals today.

Ben: And Doctor, what is the success rate for a root canal?

Dino Bonyadi: That’s a very good question. I see a lot of patients who think that once a tooth gets a root canal, that’s it and it’s going to be successful. That’s not true. Success rate is very high. We have a success rate of, I would say, about 95%. But there’s still that 5% chance that root canal fails.

Dino Bonyadi: Now, you may ask, why would a root canal fail? Well, when we do a root canal, basically what you’re doing is you’re doing a filling inside of that chamber and the canals that are in the root. So, the purpose of a root canal is to get in there, get the dead, infected tissue out, disinfect the space and fill it. Now, sometimes there are accessory canals, there are cracks. Or sometimes the canals are actually calcified that we cannot get into. In those instances, the possibility of a root canal failing is higher.

Ben: And for a root canal, is this something you can do for children or for adults?

Dino Bonyadi: Well for children, we do a little bit different procedure. It’s called pulpotomy. With children, because it’s… If it’s their permanent teeth, yes, definitely, we’ll do a root canal. But if it’s their primary teeth, then most of the time, if it gets to that point where the tooth is that infected, we usually end up taking the tooth out.

Dino Bonyadi: But, if not, let’s say you’re doing a filling and the nerve gets exposed, then in that cases, you can do what’s called a pulpotomy. You take a little bit of the tissue out, and you put medication, and you close the tooth, and you hope that the tooth will last until it’s exfoliated.

Ben: And by the way Doctor, is this something that maybe you could do when it comes to a root canal? Or does a specialist need to come in and do this?

Dino Bonyadi: Well, most general dentist, through their training in dental school, are trained to do root canals. Now, some choose not to. Root canals are very tedious. You have to be very good at it, and you have to be able to work in very tight, small spaces such as inside of a tooth.

Dino Bonyadi: I do do root canals in my practice, but I have limitations. After all, the most important part is to get a good outcome. If I see a case that I feel it’s beyond my capabilities, then in that case, I will refer the patient to a specialist, so they can get the best care they can.

Ben: So, the best advice here, take care of those teeth and those gums.

Dino Bonyadi: Exactly. Root canals should not happen in this day and age. With all the advances we have and all the knowledge we have, nobody should be needing a root canal. Of course, unless it was accidental fracture or something like that. It should not be for tooth decay. But, again, unfortunately, we see that all the time where people don’t appreciate their teeth and get to that point.

Ben: Well hopefully it doesn’t get to that point. But if folks have some questions about maybe some other issues, they can get a hold of you. In fact, they can go to your website, what is that?

Dino Bonyadi: Yes, it’s, or they can call the office at 925-7343.

Ben: And we can like you on Facebook.

Dino Bonyadi: Please do.

Ben: All right. Well Doctor, we’ll wrap it up there. Doctor Dino Bonyadi, Doctor Dino’s Cool Truths About the Tooth. Doctor, we’ll see you next week.

Dino Bonyadi: Thank you, Ben. Have a wonderful day.