If the words “root canal” make you feel nervous, you’re not alone; root canal therapy has an undeserved reputation as the least desirable dental procedure. But for the countless patients who undergo root canals every year, the treatment doesn’t cause discomfort: it provides relief. At Le Chabot Dental in San Leandro, California, Dr. Andy Le and Dr. Robert Lu offer tooth-saving root canal treatments to patients of all ages. If you’ve been experiencing chronic tooth pain or sensitivity, call the office or book your appointment online today.
A root canal, or root canal therapy, is a dental procedure that repairs the soft tissue, or pulp, deep inside your tooth. The primary objective of root canal therapy is to save the affected tooth and prevent unnecessary tooth loss.
To understand how a root canal works, it’s important to know something about tooth structure.
The soft pulp of your tooth lies beneath a hard layer of dentin as well as the white, outer enamel. The blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues within the pulp are what help create the tooth’s dentin and enamel during development.
Tooth pulp starts at the crown of your tooth and extends to the tip of its roots, where it’s fixed to the surrounding tissues. Because your tooth receives nourishment from these tissues, a mature tooth can survive without its pulp.
If tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause severe pain or lead to a bacterial infection, or abscess. Root canal therapy is designed to take care of such problems.
While poor dental hygiene and a sugar-rich diet can increase your chances of needing a root canal at some point, those aren’t the only reasons people wind up having root canals.
Cracked teeth, chipped teeth, and teeth that have undergone repeated dental procedures are also more likely to require a root canal eventually.
Signs that you might need a root canal include:
If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with the team at Le Chabot Dental as soon as possible.
Before you undergo root canal therapy, the treatment area is numbed with a local anesthetic to ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.
Once you’re ready, Dr. Le or Dr. Lu removes the inflamed or infected pulp, cleans and shapes the root canal interior, then fills and seals the space.
In some cases, a dental crown may be necessary for full restoration and functionality.
The infection or inflammation that causes you to need a root canal causes far more discomfort than root canal therapy; in fact, dental anesthetics ensure you don’t feel anything during the procedure.
More importantly, you’ll finally be able to find real relief once the procedure is over. For most patients, having a root canal is very similar to having a cavity filled.
It’s also important to remember that, left untreated, chronic inflammation or a severe abscess inside your tooth can only get worse, and may even spread to your jaw, neck, or head.