What Does It Do? And Will It Help My Toothache?
A root canal is a dental procedure to save a painful or infected tooth.
One dental procedure that’s widely known to the general public is the root canal. Though the phrase is strongly associated with toothaches and pain, the truth is closer to the opposite. Root canals do not cause dental pain; they relieve it! Getting treatment is the first step toward a healthier mouth and regular, pain-free use. So, if you’re experiencing a toothache or dental emergency, please call us at (415) 499-7700 to schedule an appointment.
Why do I need one?
Teeth may appear like nothing more than dead, lifeless bones, but they actually have a lot going on inside. Ask anyone with a toothache, and they can tell you that a tooth is very much alive! Beneath the surface, within each tooth, are veins, arteries, and nerves. When these inner workings (collectively called the pulp) become infected, it may swell, causing extreme discomfort and tooth sensitivity.
What does a root canal involve?
After receiving an emergency examination (and if we determine a root canal is necessary), you may first receive a regimen of antibiotics to reduce the swelling, pain, and infection. During the root canal itself (also called endodontic therapy), we anesthetize the affected tooth and prepare it for treatment. We make an entrance through the top of the tooth, which typically relieves any pain or feelings of pressure. Next, we remove any infected pulp, sterilize the inner tooth surface, and fill the tooth with a biocompatible material. Finally, we place a dental crown atop the treated tooth to support and seal in the restoration.
Upon completion, your restored tooth can be used for regular eating and chewing. Patients may experience limited sensitivity in the immediate days after receiving treatment. However, any discomfort can usually be addressed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Long-term prospects for teeth that receive root canals are good. With proper at-home care that includes brushing and flossing (as well as regular trips to the dentist), there’s no reason that your newly restored tooth can’t last many more years!