When a tooth becomes infected or badly decayed, a root canal can save your smile and avoid an extraction. A damaged or infected tooth should not be left untreated – the longer you leave it, the more painful and dangerous it becomes.
Think You Might Need a Root Canal?
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure performed to save a tooth from extraction when the extremely sensitive and vulnerable soft inner tissue of the tooth (called the pulp), becomes infected or exposed. An infection can find its way to the interior of your tooth due to a deep cavity, a crack or fracture, or an injury to the tooth that exposes your root to bacteria. With root canal treatment, we can fix the issue without removing the tooth, which helps keep the rest of your smile in line. If an injured tooth is left untreated, it can lead to severe pain, a dental abscess, or possible tooth loss.
Signs of a Possible Infection or Compromised Tooth
- Visible swelling or injury of the gum
- Pressure to a tooth causes pain
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers after the source is removed
- Tenderness in the gums
- Tooth pain that interrupts sleep
- Spontaneous throbbing tooth pain
The Root Canal Procedure
We begin by administering a local anesthetic to ensure you are comfortable and pain free throughout the procedure. A rubber dam is placed around the affected tooth in order to keep it free of bacteria from your saliva. Next, a hole is created in the affected tooth so that the damaged pulp can be removed. Once it is removed, the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Finally, the area is filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha, in order to strengthen and protect it. A crown is highly recommended to prevent a future fracture or wear of the treated tooth.
Does a Root Canal Hurt?
Despite what you may have heard or seen on TV or in movies, a root canal can be a rather simple and painless procedure. With the right application of local anesthesia, all you will feel is a small pinch from the needle!