Root Canals Q & A

Root canals are a tooth-saving treatment that repairs the soft tissue, or pulp, deep inside your tooth. Also known as root canal therapy or endodontic treatment, this simple dental procedure removes decaying or infected pulp before your tooth is beyond repair.

But before you can understand how root canal treatment works, you have to know something about the structure of your teeth.

The soft pulp in the center of your tooth is situated beneath a hard layer of dentin and the protective outer layer of enamel. Because the pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues, it’s incredibly important during early development, when it helps build and sustain strong dentin and enamel layers.

Tooth pulp extends from the crown of your tooth to the tip of its roots, where it connects to the surrounding tissues. Once a tooth is fully mature, it can survive without its pulp because it gets most of its nutrients from the surrounding tissues.

If a tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause severe pain or even tooth loss. Root canal therapy removes the problematic pulp so you can keep your natural tooth in place.

People who wind up needing a root canal typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Throbbing or radiating tooth pain
  • Dull, aching tooth or jaw pain
  • Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Tenderness when touched or while eating
  • Unexplained tooth discoloration

Having poor oral hygiene habits and consuming too many sugary foods and beverages can increase the likelihood that you might need a root canal at some point, but those aren’t the only reasons people wind up needing endodontic care.

Root canal treatment is often eventually required for cracked teeth, chipped teeth, or teeth that have undergone repeated dental procedures.

While many patients worry about pain during root canal therapy, the procedure isn’t all that different from having a cavity filled. Dental anesthetics ensure you don’t feel any discomfort during the procedure itself, and once it’s completed, any pain you had from the infection or inflammation is gone.

During a root canal, your dentist numbs the treatment area with a local anesthetic. After it takes effect, your dentist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, cleans and shapes the root canal interior, and then fills and seals the space. Unless your tooth also needs to be fitted for a crown, that’s all there is to a root canal.

If you’re still uneasy about having a root canal, remember that any untreated inflammation or infection inside your tooth can only continue to cause damage; it may even spread to your jaw, neck, or head.

To find out more about the benefits of root canal treatment, call the Volterra Dental team at (562) 501-3188 today, or make an appointment using the convenient online appointment request feature.

Dr. Richard Blackburn Image
Dr. Richard Blackburn is a highly sought after dentist in Los Alamitos. Having received training at Midwestern University, he earned a strong reputation amongst his instructors and peers as an exceptionally skilled and professional clinician. He possesses extensive training and experience in wisdom teeth extractions, root canals, restorations, implant placement, sleep, and TMJ analysis, among other general dentistry treatments. In addition to enjoying family time, he loves to visit the beach. Being born and raised in Southern Orange County, he is keen to give back to the community and strives to build lasting relationships through comfortable, customized, and high-quality dental treatments.