Root Canal Treatment

What is a Root Canal?

An illustration of a root canal.When you develop an infection, your body fights it by sending white blood cells and antibodies. You may feel tooth sensitivity or pain at this point. During this bacteria battle, the tissue begins to swell. Because of the limited amount of space inside your tooth, the tissue does not have enough room for the swelling and ends up "strangling itself." The infected tissue dies. Often when this happens the pain will cease. This is not an indication that everything is better. In fact, it is just the opposite. The dead tissue feeds the infection into the surrounding bone. You still need to visit the dentist, and in order to save the tooth, you will need a root canal treatment.

What to Expect With Root Canal Treatment

Many patients are afraid of having a root canal treatment done, and some even elect to have the infected tooth extracted rather than have a root canal. But getting a root canal isn't nearly as bad as most people have been led to believe. In fact, a tooth extraction is a much more traumatic procedure. So, not only is a root canal treatment easier, but your tooth will be saved too. If you're concerned about pain, let us ease your mind. In many cases the tissue inside your tooth is dead so it has no feeling at all. Where there is feeling, novocain will usually be all you need. If you are anxious about the treatment, nitrous oxide is a great relaxant. You may be interested in reading about that on our nitrous oxide page. If you need something stronger, we can also use oral valium.

The procedure itself is quite simple. Any dead or diseased tissue is removed. Then we'll clean the inside of the tooth thoroughly and place a sealer material inside your tooth.

A tooth that has had a root canal treatment probably had a large cavity, and so it usually needs a crown as a final restoration. This will ordinarily be done as a separate procedure at a separate appointment.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal Treatment

  • Lingering pain when drinking hot/cold liquids
  • Tooth sensitivity when there is pressure or tapping on the tooth
  • Pain when biting
  • A pimple on your gum near the root of your tooth

If you're experiencing tooth pain you may request an appointment with our office. If you need an emergency visit, we'll see you today, even if it's on a weekend or after hours. We'll get you out of pain.