Root Canals

A root canal is a dental procedure removes the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is made up of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. 

A root canal is performed when the soft inner part of a tooth, known as the pulp, is injured, becomes inflamed, or infected. The crown of the tooth — the part you can see above your gums — can remain intact even if the pulp is dead. Removing injured or infected pulp is the best way to preserve the structure of the tooth.

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Common Reasons For A Root Canal

How is a root canal performed?

A root canal is performed in a dental office. When you arrive for your appointment, a technician will escort you to a treatment room, help you get situated in a chair, and place a bib around your neck to protect your clothes from stains.

  • Step 1: Anesthetic

    The dentist will place a small amount of numbing medication on your gum near the affected tooth. Once it has taken effect, a local anesthetic will be injected into your gums. You may feel a sharp pinch or a burning sensation, but this will pass quickly.

  • Step 2: Removing the pulp

    When your tooth is numb, the dentist will make a small opening in the top of the tooth. Once the infected or damaged pulp is exposed, the specialist will carefully remove it using special tools called files. They’ll be particularly careful to clean out all the pathways (canals) in your tooth.

  • Step 3: Antibiotics

    Once the pulp has been removed, the dentist may coat the area with a topical antibiotic to ensure that the infection is gone and to prevent reinfection. Once the canals are cleaned and disinfected, the dentist will fill and seal the tooth with a sealer paste and rubber-like material called gutta-percha. They also may prescribe you oral antibiotics.

  • Step 4: Temporary filling

    The dentist will end the procedure by filling the small opening in the top of the tooth with a soft, temporary material. This sealant helps prevent the canals from being damaged by saliva.

Before: Infection

After: Root Canal

How To Know if You Need a Root Canal?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. Your dentist will advise on whether or not a root canal is a good option for your specific needs.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you may need a root canal include:

Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
While root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.
Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last a lifetime.
You may have some tenderness or mild discomfort when biting down for a few days following your treatment. You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen to relieve any discomfort you feel. We recommend chewing on the other side of your mouth until a permanent restoration, such as a crown, is placed on top of the treated tooth.
Yes! You should avoid eating foods high in sugar and drinking acidic beverages to help protect your teeth from decay. Additionally, you should visit your dentist at least once per year so we can examine and clean your teeth. We also highly recommend wearing a custom-made mouth guard whenever you’re playing sports or doing anything that poses a risk of injury to your teeth.

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