Root Canals

What does a root canal do?

Root canals might sound scary, but thanks to medical advances over the past decades, and with the help of local anesthesia, they shouldn’t be a worry.

The reason dentists perform a root canal is to save and repair a damaged tooth instead of removing it. Root canals are performed when a tooth’s pulp—made up of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels—becomes infected or inflamed. The first line of treatment is almost always the least invasive course of action, such as antibiotics and investigating potential causes of inflammation. Those causes include cavities, cracks, or breaks in the tooth. If left untreated, they can lead to pulp death, bone loss, abscesses, or the eventual loss of the infected tooth.

Sometimes, a root canal is necessary. The process involved in a root canal, in short, consists of cleaning out the pulp, replacing it, and then sealing the tooth back up.

How do I know if I might need a root canal?

Here are a few signs and symptoms that may require a root canal to correct:

  • Swelling around the face and/or neck
  • Toothache and/or pain
  • Gum swelling
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature
  • Pain when pressure is put upon a tooth by eating or other means

The Process of Getting a Root Canal

It is important to us, at Brocks Gap Dentistry, that you’re comfortable, so we want to provide a brief overview of what to expect if you end up needing a root canal.

We begin with a radiograph (a dental X-ray) to assess the situation. Next, we numb the area with a local anesthetic. Then, we will create a small opening in the crown of your tooth, so we can have access to the infected pulp, which is then cleared away. Once the infected pulp is removed, the space is filled, and an artificial crown is placed on the opening that was created—unless you end up needing multiple visits, in which case, a temporary crown is placed for protection between appointments.

There are some alternatives available for root canals. These can include the removal of the infected tooth, dental implants, a bridge, or a removable partial denture.

Keeping Up with Your Dental Hygiene

Even if you don’t need a root canal—or even if you’ve already had one—it’s important to practice good, preventative dental hygiene. Most of these tips won’t be a surprise to you, but they bear repeating, and you’ll likely recognize them if you’ve read some of our other posts.

  • Brush at least twice daily, or even after every meal
  • Floss daily
  • Get regular dental cleanings and checkups
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is replaced regularly
  • Use a dentist-recommended mouth rinse

Full and Partial Dentures

Gum disease can cause a loss of teeth. Partial dentures are used to replace a few missing or removed teeth, while full dentures are used to replace all of your teeth.


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