Need a Root Canal? Here's What to Expect

A root canal is a common dental treatment used to save your tooth after it has become infected or severely decayed. The first sign of infection might be a mild toothache that won’t go away. You might also find that drinking hot or cold beverages triggers a distinctly sharp pain. Dr. Ryan J. Fait of Southern California General & Cosmetic Dentistry provides expert dental treatments of all kinds. His attention to detail lends him great success in performing more invasive procedures such as root canal treatments. 

What is a root canal?

At the center of your tooth is soft tissues and nerves known as pulp. The chamber housing the pulp is a hollow area inside your tooth and extends from the center of your tooth down to the roots. 

A root canal might be necessary when your nerve tissue or pulp is damaged. Bacteria and decay debris form around this damaged area and if left untreated leads to an infection or abscess, which is a pus-filled pocket. Swelling, pain, and spreading of the symptoms quickly occurs. 

During a root canal treatment, we remove the pulp from the chamber and replace it with dental materials. 

What happens during the treatment?

Dr. Fait usually takes an X-ray of your tooth to determine if you need a root canal treatment. Sometimes the symptoms of an infected canal can be confused for other conditions. If he assesses that you need a root canal, he begins the procedure by numbing your mouth with local anesthesia. He places a rubber dam over your teeth to keep the treatment area clean and free from saliva and debris. 

Dr. Fait creates a small opening in your tooth to reach the pulp chamber and removes the nerves and soft tissues. The roots are then thoroughly cleaned to fight any further infection. Once the chamber is clear, Dr. Fait fills it in with canal filling material. The filling material is called gutta-percha, a latex-based material that serves to hold the chamber together along with sealing cement. 

After the root canal treatment, Dr. Fait usually adds a crown to protect your tooth from fracturing. The root canal procedure may take one or two appointments to complete. 

Following the procedure

Most of the time, patients don’t feel any substantial pain after the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, your gums around the tooth may be sore. If this is the case, you should chew with the opposite side of your mouth for a few days to give your tooth a rest. Any further pain should be manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. 

A root canal treatment can last a lifetime as long as you have a crown and practice good oral hygiene. Follow up appointments are necessary to ensure the canal doesn’t become reinfected. 

To make an appointment with Dr. Fait and his team, please call or book online.

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