During a root canal, your provider removes infected pulp within your tooth and replaces it with a biocompatible material — leaving the structure of the tooth intact.
Your tooth’s pulp lies deep inside the enamel and contains blood vessels and nerves. These structures are helpful when your tooth is developing, but once it is fully matured, you no longer need them to maintain your tooth’s integrity. This means you keep your natural bite, preserve jaw bone health, and keep a natural, functional smile.
Signs that you have a tooth with infected pulp might show up during a routine exam and X-ray. You may also experience symptoms like:
If you have any of these symptoms, contact Los Gatos Dental Specialists to have your tooth examined.
It’s also possible to experience these symptoms in a tooth that’s had a root canal before. In these cases, your prior root canal has likely failed and you would benefit from retreatment.
Your affected tooth and the surrounding area are numbed prior to your root canal. Your dentist then makes a small hole in your tooth so they can access the pulp. They remove all signs of infection and use a specialized solution to kill any lingering bacteria.
The dentist then places gutta-percha, a rubbery material, into the space where your pulp was and carefully seals the site to complete the procedure.
You need a porcelain crown to top off the tooth and protect it from any further damage.
The root canal procedure is not painful, especially since it’s performed while you’re anesthetized. Many people associate a root canal with pain because it’s done to alleviate severe discomfort from a tooth infection. A root canal actually alleviates pain.
Expect to feel a little sore and sensitive in the day or two following your procedure, but feel relief from long-term tooth pain. If you have ongoing pain for several days or notice swelling, contact the office to make sure there are no complications from your root canal.
If you suspect you need a root canal, call Los Gatos Dental Specialists or use the online tool to schedule an appointment.