The idea of a root canal may conjure up feelings of fear or anxiety. But you don’t have to worry about root canals being painful or frightening when performed by the team at La Jolla Family Smile Design. Our dentists take great care to make the experience as quick and comfortable as possible. With a gentle touch and a warm, friendly attitude we will help you relax in the chair and get the important treatment you need to save your infected tooth. After the conclusion of your treatment, you will be able to bite, chew and smile with confidence again.
When Is a Root Canal Needed?
Root canal therapy is performed to rehabilitate a tooth that is diseased or badly damaged.
Inside your tooth is a soft tissue called dental pulp. The pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, is critical to the development of your tooth; however, a mature tooth can survive without the pulp. The pulp is contained inside the tooth’s root canals, which extend from the tip of the tooth roots to the crown.
If dental pulp becomes infected or inflamed, either due to a bad cavity, a deep crack or chip in the tooth or repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a root canal becomes necessary. Leaving the infected or inflamed pulp untreated can have serious consequences, including severe toothache or a dental abscess.
Signs you may need a root canal include the following:
- Severe pain when chewing, biting or applying pressure to a tooth
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- A pimple-like lesion on the gums
- Visible crack or chip in the tooth
- Swelling or tenderness in the nearby gums
Root canal therapy removes the infected or inflamed tissue, cleans out the tooth’s root canal and seals off the chamber to prevent future problems. Following the root canal, our dentists place a crown or other restoration over the tooth to strengthen it and restore it to full functionality.
Root Canal Treatment Details
To begin, one of our dentists will completely numb your tooth and surrounding part of your mouth so you do not feel any pain.
Once your tooth is numb, the dentist will create an opening in the chewing surface of the tooth. Using small instruments, the dentist will clean out the infected or inflamed pulp and disinfect the root canals, preparing them to be filled. The dentist will next fill the root canals with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. A temporary filling may be placed over the opening and later replaced with a permanent filling or crown. The permanent restoration protects the tooth from fracturing and enables you to bite and chew comfortably.
You do not need to follow any special aftercare instructions, as long as you avoid biting or chewing with the treated tooth until the permanent restoration has been placed. Practicing good at-home oral care can help prolong the life and health of your affected tooth.
Learn More About Root Canal Therapy
For more information about restoring an infected or damaged tooth with root canal therapy, La Jolla Family Smile Design is here to help. We would be happy to explain how we make root canal therapy comfortable and virtually pain-free for our patients. Contact us today to speak with a member of our team.