Yes, a root canal is a medical procedure, but it can also be a most gratifying experience — you walk in with agonizing tooth pain, and, less than an hour later, you walk out with a smile on your face and no pain.
Each year in the United States, dentists across the country perform 15 million root canal procedures, making it one of the true workhorses in our field.
Here at Peninsula Dental Excellence, our team, including Dr. Jeff Yoshihara and Dr. Jessie Yu, have completed our fair share of root canal procedures, helping our clients preserve their teeth and find much-needed pain relief.
Here’s a look at what we want you to know about this important preventive dentistry tool.
Behind the tooth pain
People need root canal procedures because an infection has developed inside one of their teeth. More specifically, bacteria have made their way into the pulp, which is found deep inside your crown and extends down into your roots.
This pulp is located inside the enamel and dentin in your teeth, and it houses blood vessels, connective tissues, and nerves, which goes a long way toward explaining the pain.
When bacteria invade this area of your tooth and set up shop, it creates a painful infection inside your tooth that needs addressing sooner rather than later.
Saving your tooth and relieving your pain
If we confirm an infection inside your tooth, we can get straight to work to clear it out. We only need to use a local anesthetic to numb the area and then drill holes in the affected tooth to access your pulp chamber.
Once we get in, we clear out the infected pulp and then rinse the chamber with a strong antibacterial and sanitizing agent. To prevent further problems, we fill this newly created void with a rubber cement-like material called gutta-percha.
With the filler in place, we then decide whether to protect your tooth with fillings or a dental crown. In most cases, we want to cap your tooth with a crown after your root canal procedure because accessing the pulp chambers requires a fair amount of dental work that can weaken your tooth. The good news is that we’re equipped with advanced CEREC technology that allows us to offer same-day crowns.
Once the crown is in place (or filling if your tooth is strong enough), you no longer have a painful infection, and your tooth will live to see (chew) another day.
If you have more questions about the root canal procedure or you suspect you might have an infection in your tooth, please contact our Mountain View, CA, office to schedule an appointment.