Root Canals
Remember, regular cleanings and checkups are the best way to prevent and detect problems early - before a root canal is necessary.

Root Canals

The reality is, root canals got a bad reputation because of anesthetic that did not providing sufficient numbing. With current technology, however, root canals are typically no more uncomfortable than getting a regular filling—they just take more time.

Our team at Foutz Family Dental understands that root canals can make people a little anxious. Most of the time root canals can be done in our office in one appointment. Sometimes patients are referred to a root canal specialist (endodontist) in order to provide the highest quality of care for difficult situations.

Remember, regular cleanings and checkups are the best way to prevent and detect problems early—before a root canal is necessary.

A root canal (also referred to as root canal treatment, root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy) is needed when bacteria is allowed to reach all the way to the pulp (nerves and blood vessels) through either a cavity or a crack. Sometimes deep restorations (fillings) or trauma to a tooth may cause nerve damage, to the point that the nerve dies and needs root canal therapy.

Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and the infection can extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone forming an abscess. By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, because it cannot heal on its own. Keep in mind, this infection does not stay in your mouth, but travels in your bloodstream throughout your entire body. This is potentially dangerous and often very painful.

Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include extreme and lingering sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. However, sometimes no symptoms manifest and the person is unaware of any problem until a check-up.

Once diagnosed, a root canal is performed to clean out the infected and necrotic (dead) pulp tissue, and disinfect the canals of the tooth to remove the infection. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up (filling) and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy. That’s because the tooth has become weakened from the cavity or crack that enabled the bacteria to infect the pulp tissues to begin with.

Once the pulp of a tooth dies, the only two treatment options are a root canal or tooth extraction. Otherwise the tooth will be a chronic source of infection and inflammation your body has to deal with, which can cause problems around the tooth, neighboring teeth, or with other parts of your body.