What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure performed to save a tooth that has become infected or developed an abscess. The inside of your tooth, called the pulp, contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops near the end of the tooth’s root when the pulp dies and becomes infected due to decay or trauma. When this occurs, you may need a root canal to prevent the tooth from being extracted.
During the root canal procedure, our Mesa dentists will clean out the infected or abscessed pulp then disinfect and fill this area with a special biocompatible filling material. The area is then sealed and covered with a dental crown for protection.
Is a root canal painful?
While patients often hear that root canals are painful procedures in movies and on TV, nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, the toothache experienced when you have an abscessed tooth is relieved by the root canal procedure used to repair the damaged tooth. Advances in dentistry technology and local anesthesia have improved our ability to perform root canals to the level of painlessness in most cases.
Would it be better to extract the tooth?
In most cases, tooth extraction should be a last resort. It is best to save your tooth whenever possible. Often replacing your damaged tooth with a dental implant or dental bridge may be more complex, time consuming and costly in the long run. While dental implants are an effective option to replace missing teeth, you are still better off with your natural tooth. Root canal procedures experience a very high success rate, and your repaired tooth can often last a lifetime.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
Warning signs that you may need a root canal include :
- Sensitivity to heat and cold
- Pain and tenderness when chewing or applying pressure
- Tooth discoloration
- Facial swelling
- Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Will my tooth require any special care following a root canal?
You should be careful chewing or biting with your tooth until Mesa dentists Dr. Scott LeSueur and Dr. Charles Dodaro complete the restoration which normally is a dental crown. It may take several weeks for your dental crown to be created at the lab. Until this time, your tooth will be susceptible to breakage. However, once it is protected by a dental crown, your tooth will be fully functional. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene practices after your root canal to prevent additional decay or damage down the road.
Schedule an appointment
Please contact us today to schedule your initial appointment. Dr. Scott LeSueur and Dr. Charles Dodaro serve patients in Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, and Scottsdale, Arizona.