What to Expect When Having a Root Canal

Just the words "root canal" can conjure up ideas of dental torture but the reality is it’s no more uncomfortable than a typical dental filling. It can also resolve tooth pain and improve your oral health.

Here at our Lifetime Dental Care office in Katy, Texas, Dr. W. Garry Waldrop and our highly trained staff use state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to provide a wide range of general and cosmetic care, including root canals when needed.

Root canal explained

Performed more than 15 million times each year, a root canal becomes necessary when a previously healthy tooth's soft inner layer of pulp is either injured or decayed. When the collection of connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerve fibers gets inflamed it can swell, pinching the nerves and resulting in pain. It can also lead to an infection or abscessed tooth if bacteria multiply in the pulp chamber. 

Symptoms may include everything from a painful toothache and tender or swollen gums to a tooth that is discolored or darkened. Pus or a small pimple around the tooth root and/or persistent bad breath may also occur.

Root canal procedure

A root canal procedure is nothing to fear. We make a detailed scan of your mouth and tooth in question using innovative Galileos® 3D technology in order to determine the extent of the damage. The scan also helps guide your treatment. 

Next, we numb your tooth while using a rubber dental dam to protect your mouth. Once the area is completely without feeling, we drill a small hole on the top of your tooth. Using an endodontic file we access the root canal through the hole and remove all of the damaged pulp tissue.

After we have emptied the area of decayed pulp, we clean and sterilize it then use a rubbery compound to fill it in. Depending on an individual’s situation we may also reinforce the inner tooth with a small post or rod.

The last steps in the root canal process are sealing the hole in the tooth, filling it with a dental filling, and adding a crown to ensure its strength and function.

While the idea of a root canal sounds dramatic, in reality waiting and delaying treatment can cause much more pain and potentially long-term damage than getting it taken care of when it initially becomes an issue. Possible complications if left untreated can include an abscess forming, the tooth being lost, and/or nearby teeth becoming infected. In particularly serious cases, sepsis may even occur. 

If you're having tooth pain or experiencing any other dental symptoms, call or click to make an appointment today with Lifetime Dental Care and get your oral health back on track.

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