A "root canal," or endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction. If you have a toothache that isn't going away, you may have damage to your tooth. This damage can be anything from a cavity to an abscess, which is a dangerous infection that could be life-threatening if not treated.
San Carlos, CA
The staff at Frank Hsu, D.D.S. is experienced in root canals and can put you at ease if you need treatment.
Reasons for a Root Canal or Endodontic Treatment
The enamel is the visible part of the tooth and protrudes from the gum line. The dentin is the hard layer found right under the enamel. The pulp is the soft tissue found under the dentin and contains the connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves that feed nutrients to the tooth. This is the area that becomes painful when there is tooth decay, and the root is exposed.
When the soft tissue inside the root canal becomes infected with bacteria, you need a root canal to save the tooth. You may also need endodontic treatment after a traumatic injury to the tooth. If the inflammation in the pulp is not treated, a dangerous tooth abscess can develop.
Symptoms that Require a Root Canal
The most obvious sign that you need a root canal can be a pain in a tooth, but there can be other symptoms that will alert you that something is wrong. Sudden sensitivity to hot or cold, pain when chewing, tenderness in the tooth, swelling around the gumline, and drainage are some of the things to look out for. In some cases, you will have no symptoms.
Getting a Root Canal
Root canals are one of the most common procedures performed in our office, and they take about an hour per tooth. Our dentist will first numb the area he or she needs to treat. Once the medicine is working, a hole will be drilled into the tooth to reach the infection and allow it to drain. We clean the area thoroughly with a particular solution, and then the hole is filled with a resin material. If the tooth is still viable, that will complete the treatment, but a separate visit will be required to place the permanent crown if needed.
Care After a Root Canal
Most patients are comfortable during a root canal and feel no pain thanks to the anesthetic. You will be able to go home unassisted unless we have used general anesthesia to treat you. Some of our patients with dental anxiety, require this method of numbing.
Your tooth may feel sensitive or sore, and you could experience some jaw discomfort from having your mouth open for the procedure. We recommend that once you get home, you rinse with salt water to prevent infection and clean the mouth thoroughly. If you feel any discomfort in your bite, please let us know. The pain from a root canal should be minimal and subside in a couple of days following the treatment.
Root canals are routine procedures that we do on an outpatient basis at Frank Hsu, D.D.S. to save a patient’s tooth and clear infection. If you have pain in one of your teeth, please call us at 650.262.1940.