Root Canal Therapy

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Root canal therapy, often referred to simply as a “root canal,” is a dental procedure that is surrounded by myths and misconceptions. In reality, it is a highly effective treatment designed to save and preserve a severely damaged or infected tooth. This informative guide aims to shed light on the process, benefits, and aftercare of root canal therapy, debunking common misconceptions along the way.

What is Root Canal Therapy?


Root canal therapy is a dental procedure performed to treat a tooth with an infected or damaged pulp – the innermost part of a tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. This therapy involves removing the infected or damaged pulp and cleaning and sealing the tooth to prevent further infection. Contrary to popular belief, root canal therapy is not a painful experience; in fact, it is designed to relieve pain and discomfort.

When is Root Canal Therapy Necessary?


Several factors may lead to the need for root canal therapy, including:


  1. Dental Infection: When bacteria infiltrate the pulp due to deep cavities, cracks, or trauma, it can lead to infection, causing severe pain and discomfort.
  2. Pulp Inflammation: If the pulp becomes inflamed due to various factors, including repeated dental procedures on the same tooth or a deep filling, root canal therapy may be required.
  3. Tooth Abscess: A pocket of pus, known as an abscess, can form at the root tip when the infection spreads. This can cause severe pain and, if left untreated, may lead to bone loss.
Root Canal Therapy illustration

Causes of pulp infection or inflammation


  • Breakdown of a filling or crown
  • A deep cavity
  • Trauma
  • Gum disease
  • Crack or chip in the tooth
  • Extreme wear or erosion
  • Extensive dental work on the tooth


Signs and symptoms of pulp infection or inflammation


  • Unprovoked or spontaneous pain
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods
  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • Loosening of the tooth
  • Swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
  • Pus drainage that may resemble a “pimple” on the gums.
  • Facial swelling

Types of root canal treatment


  1. Conventional Root Canal Therapy: This is the most common type of root canal treatment. It involves removing the infected or damaged pulp tissue from the tooth’s root canals, cleaning and shaping the canals, and then filling them with a biocompatible material, usually gutta-percha, to seal the tooth. A dental crown is often placed on the treated tooth to restore its strength and function.
  2. Pulpotomy: A pulpotomy is a partial removal of the pulp tissue, typically performed on baby teeth (primary teeth) when the pulp is infected or damaged. The procedure is designed to preserve the primary tooth until it naturally falls out. After the pulpotomy, a filling material is used to seal the tooth.
  3. Apicoectomy: Also known as root-end resection, an apicoectomy is a surgical procedure used when conventional root canal treatment fails or is not possible due to complications. In this procedure, the tip of the tooth’s root is removed, and a filling material is placed to seal the root canal from the end. This is usually done through a small incision in the gum tissue near the tooth.
  4. Internal Bleaching: Sometimes, a tooth that has previously undergone root canal treatment may become discolored. Internal bleaching is a procedure where a bleaching agent is placed inside the tooth to whiten it from the inside. This is often done through a small opening created in the back of the tooth, and the process may be repeated until the desired tooth color is achieved.
  5. Regenerative Endodontics: This is a relatively new field in endodontics that focuses on regenerating damaged pulp tissue rather than removing it entirely. It is typically considered for young patients with immature teeth. The goal is to encourage the growth of new pulp tissue to restore the tooth’s vitality.
  6. Retreatment: In some cases, a previously treated tooth may develop new issues or reinfection. Retreatment involves reopening the tooth, removing the existing filling material, cleaning the canals again, and then resealing the tooth. This is done when it’s possible to save the tooth without the need for extraction.
  7. Non-surgical Root Canal: This is the most common type of root canal treatment and includes the procedures mentioned above. It is non-invasive in the sense that it doesn’t require major surgery, such as tooth extraction.

Aftercare and Maintenance


After root canal therapy, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups. The treated tooth may be sensitive for a few days, but this discomfort should subside. Avoiding chewing on hard or sticky foods on the treated tooth is recommended to prevent any damage to the restoration.


Schedule an appointment with our dentist if you have any inquiries about root canal therapy.

Roanoke Family Dentist
Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you
hanna formacion
hanna formacion
It was truly a great experience for my dental care . Dr. Rhea was superb. She has a compassionate heart dealing with her parents most especially with gentle hand work. She is the BEST !!! Highly recommend .
Psi Rho
Psi Rho
Two thumbs up!
Brittney Harrison
Brittney Harrison
Great experience!
Angela Ruiz
Angela Ruiz
When I first moved here in 2017 this was the first dental office I went to and have been going to ever since! Dr.Antolín and her staff are super sweet and the place always has a comforting environment. I’ve had many good experiences here.
Herman Moreno
Herman Moreno
I love this dentist, how many people do you hear that from? Very gentle hands, I usually dread the shots but Dr Antolin puts me at ease and I barely feel it! I highly recommend this place.
Mary Lou Antonio
Mary Lou Antonio
Frienly dentist and staff
alida kwe
alida kwe
My son loves that office because of TV, treasure box and the nice. I am just glad as a mother that my kid is not afraid of the dentist. I personally love the fact that the office is always clean at all my visits. I recommend her to all my friends and family. I trust her as a dentist.
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