Root Canals

Root Canal Therapy


Dentist Holding a File Used In Roon Canals

What is Endodontics?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is often required to save a severely damaged or infected (abscessed) tooth from having to be extracted. Root canals fall under the category of endodontics, which primarily deals with the treatment or removal of a tooth’s interior; such as roots, nerves, pulp, etc.

Although there are numerous dental services related to endodontics, root canal therapy is by far the most common. They are typically performed by general dentists who have had specialized training in this procedure, or sometimes by an endodontist.

An infected tooth or an exposed nerve can be an extremely painful situation. Many of the symptoms include throbbing or sharp pain, swelling of the gums, jaw, or cheek, discomfort while chewing, severe sensitivity to hot and cold, etc. However, sometimes there may be no symptoms. Once a tooth is injured, there is no way to permanently fix the tooth without a dentist’s intervention.

Causes of Ascessed Tooth?

There are a number of issues that can cause a tooth to need a root canal, such as persistent decay, cracks, or severe trauma. The tooth must be clinically treated in order for the infection and symptoms to subside.

Only a highly trained dentist with special instruments can carefully remove the pulp of the tooth and replace it with a special, antimicrobial filling material.

Root Canals Can Provide Pain Relief

Depending on the anatomy of the tooth being treated, it may require a second visit to the dentist in order to finish up the procedure. However, the beautiful thing about root canals is that once the procedure has been mostly completed at the initial visit, the patient generally gets instantaneous relief from the pain and discomfort.

Root canal therapy coupled with antibiotics and over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are generally enough to get a patient’s pain to subside dramatically.

Root Canal FAQs


What Causes an Abscess or Infected Tooth?

  • Decay that has reached the nerve.
  • Trauma that has caused a large chip or crack that exposes the nerve.
  • Trauma that has caused the nerve of the tooth to die.
  • Large, older fillings that have broken down allowing bacteria to reach the nerve.
  • Recently placed fillings that have become symptomatic due to the proximity to the nerve.

What Are the Symptoms of an Infected Tooth?

  • Dull, throbbing pain with one or more teeth or area of the mouth.
  • Sharp, intense pain while chewing.
  • Extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.
  • Headaches or fever.
  • Abnormal swelling of the gums, cheek, neck, or jaw.
  • Sometimes there may be no symptoms at all.

How Much Time Does a Root Canal Procedure Take?

Generally, a root canal can take a dentist anywhere from about an hour to several hours depending on the number of canals and anatomy or shape of the tooth’s root system. There are also a few other conditions to that tooth which can make the root canal treatment more difficult, yielding a slightly longer appointment time.

What is the Procedure of a Root Canal?

The first step to a root canal is to get the patient numb and comfortable! A rubber dam is placed on the tooth to help keep the area clean.

The next part is to access the pulp, which contains the nerve, blood supply, and protective cells of the tooth. Special instruments are used to measure the tooth. Using hand instruments and an antimicrobial rinse, the pulp is cleaned of bacteria and debris.

The final step is then placing a special biocompatible filling into the tooth. The tooth is then ready to restore back to form and function.

What Happens After a Root Canal?

After the root canal has been completed, the tooth will most likely need to be prepared for a dental crown to be delivered at a later date.

Placing a crown on the tooth will protect and restore the tooth to it’s near-natural form and function so that the patient can eat and chew without issue. More detailed information about dental crowns can be found here.

What Happens if an Infected Tooth is Left Untreated?

If an infected tooth is left untreated, the infection can get much worse, spreading to other parts of the mouth and body. At it’s worst, an abscess can lead to hospitalization and be life-threatening.


Patient Testimonials


Dr. Bowen was very thorough in explaining what why I was having the pain I was having in my mouth. April was also very helpful as well! I really like how professional they were. Even though I found out I need to have some work done everything they said as to why made sense. I would definitely recommend going there!
Patient Reviewer for Clarity Dentistry Danielle Storm
Danielle Storm

I am always very well taken care of at Clarity Dentistry. Everyone is always very friendly, listens to my concerns with empathy, and actually treats me like a human being rather than someone to get money out of. I can honestly say this is the most clean, professional, and best dental experience in my life.
Patient Reviewer for Clarity Dentistry David Morris
David Morris

My four year old has been to two pediatric dentists that have him a huge fear of the dentist. Dr. Bowen and the hygienist that worked with my son were gentle and did everything possible to make him comfortable. If you or your kiddo are anxious about the dentist you should absolutely check out Clarity.
Patient Reviewer for Clarity Dentistry Samantha Apollo
Samantha Apollo

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