The root canal is mistakenly thought of as the most feared procedure in the dentist’s office, but it’s actually a relatively painless procedure. The real source of pain is the infection in your tooth that brings you in. At Crownridge Dental, located in San Antonio, Texas, the gentle and experienced Christian Pham, DMD, provides top-notch root canal procedures to treat infected teeth and free you from pain. The sooner you’re seen, the sooner you’ll find relief. Schedule an appointment today at Crownridge Dental by calling the office or using the convenient online booking tool.
Root Canal Q & A
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a process of salvaging and repairing a tooth that’s significantly decayed or infected by extracting and replacing its pulp. The pulp is the soft area inside your teeth that contains the nerve, connective tissues, and blood vessels, and it extends from the pulp chamber near the top of the tooth all the way down through the root.
Root canals have a reputation for being the most painful procedure at the dentist’s office, but in reality, the procedure itself isn’t any more painful than having a cavity filled. The painful part of a root canal is the experience leading up to the procedure when you have an infected tooth that’s in need of dental care.
Why do I need a root canal?
A tooth’s nerve isn’t particularly necessary after the tooth has erupted through the gums. Its only function is to provide sensory input, namely to feel whether something is hot or cold. But when a tooth’s nerve and pulp are infected, it’s not only incredibly painful but also significantly detrimental to your overall oral health.
Damaged or infected pulp produces swarms of bacteria in your pulp chamber, which can lead to:
- Abscesses, or pus-filled pockets at the end of your tooth’s root
- Bone deterioration in your jaw near the tip of your root
- A hole in the side of your tooth that causes bacterial drainage into your gums and cheek
- Swelling of the face, neck, or head
If you have a severe toothache, prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, tooth discoloration, swelling in your gums, or a recurring pimple on your gums, schedule an appointment with Dr. Pham immediately, as you might need a root canal.
What happens during a root canal?
A root canal procedure can sometimes require a couple of trips to Dr. Pham’s office.
During your first visit, Dr. Pham takes an X-ray of your tooth that serves as a map for the procedure. After he numbs the tooth and the surrounding gums, he places a rubber dam around your tooth to keep it dry and protect debris from falling down your throat. Next, he drills a hole into your tooth and uses a series of tools called root canal files to poke through the hole and scrape the pulp out of the pulp chamber and root canal.
If your tooth is infected, Dr. Pham will put medication inside your tooth, plug up the hole, and send you home for a few days while the infection clears up. At the next appointment (or at the same appointment, if your tooth isn’t infected), he’ll fill the interior of the cleared-out tooth with a rubber compound called gutta-percha. Finally, he’ll either seal the hole that he drilled in your tooth with a filling or treat the tooth with a crown in order to keep it protected and restore its strength and functionality.
If you suspect you might be in need of a root canal, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pham immediately. The sooner he sees you, the sooner you’ll be out of pain. Call the office of Crownridge Dental or use the convenient online booking tool today.