You might think that root canal treatment—also called endodontic therapy—is one of the last things you’d want for your smile. The reality is that a great root canal can be one of the best things you do for your oral health. At Fifth Avenue Dental Arts, root canal treatment in San Diego is a procedure that allows you to preserve your natural teeth and prevent potential complications (and added treatment costs) later on down the road.
Treatments like fillings and crowns are used when the outer layers of a tooth are decayed or prone to structural damage.But what about the nerve inside of your tooth?When the innermost tissues of your tooth – the pulp – become infected or are injured, it can lead to severe tooth pain, abscesses, and complete death of the tooth. Left alone, the tooth would have to be extracted. Instead, a root canal can save it and eliminate the source of painful toothaches.
How Does Root Canal Therapy Work?
Root canal therapy involves a few key steps. But first, our San Diego dentist will use local anesthesia to ensure you’re completely comfortable throughout the procedure. It won’t feel that much different from getting a filling or crown.
Next, we access the nerve and carefully remove the infected or inflamed pulp tissues from your tooth, essentially cleaning out the hollow root canals that extend the length of your tooth. Then, we disinfect the nerve chamber and thoroughly cleanse the inside of your tooth to eliminate any lingering bacteria.
Finally, the tooth is sealed off to prevent any future infections from sneaking in. Think of it like a dental filling, except it fills the nerve chamber, too. The flowable filling material seals off the roots so that bacteria or other particles don’t seep back inside of the tooth structure. Since there is no longer a nerve, your tooth will also be immune to any future toothaches.
What Are the Signs That I May Need Root Canal Treatment?
Persistent, throbbing tooth pain, especially when you’re chewing or applying pressure, could be a red flag. Sensitivity to hot temperatures is another common sign of nerve-damaged teeth. If your gums show signs of an abscess, or there’s a pimple-like bump (called a “fistula”) on your gums, it’s time to act. And finally, if you notice a tooth darkening or changing color, it’s likely that the nerve is beginning to die. In any of these cases, don’t wait. The earlier you visit Fifth Avenue Dental Arts, the better the chances you have of saving your tooth.
Left untreated, abscessed or dying teeth will gradually become so damaged or painful that the only other option is to have the tooth extracted. But removing the tooth—instead of saving it—means additional treatments, too, like replacing missing teeth with a bridge or dental implant. Saving your tooth is usually best, and it also saves you money.
How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Take?
On average, a single root canal procedure can take around 60 to 90 minutes. But remember, every tooth is unique, and the complexity of the case can influence the time it takes. Teeth with multiple canals or intricate root structures might require a follow-up appointment or a slightly longer visit to complete the procedure.
Do Root Canals Hurt?
With modern resources and effective numbing medication, a root canal procedure itself can be virtually painless. In fact, the pain you’re experiencing due to the infection or abscess is worse than any discomfort you’ll feel during a root canal. Treating your tooth endodontically will address the source of your nagging toothaches once and for all. That being said, it is still normal to experience a little soreness where the local anesthetic is injected or from propping your mouth open. Motrin and a warm compress can ease this temporary soreness. If you have severe inflammation, an antibiotic may be necessary prior to your root canal to allow the anesthetic to work properly.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
At Fifth Avenue Dental Arts, we’re committed to providing gentle root canal treatments in San Diego. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of abscessed, painful, or dying teeth, now’s the time to schedule your consultation. Contact us today!