Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection.  In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed.  Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

Reasons for root canal therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva.  An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria.  If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials.  A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth.  In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed.  This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment.  Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

Dr. Herrera and her staff are the best. Appointments are always on time. She is thorough, professional and just a neat person. I visit her office about 4 times a year for cleanings and checkups. The reason I mention this is that she has had the same great hygenist, Terri, for the entire time I have been a patient. My prior dentist had different hygenist every time I visited. Good example of how well this office is run. Don't have any fears seeing this dentist. Gentle, understanding and never rushed!

Jim S.

Dr. Herrera has been my dentist since mine retired many years ago. Dr. Herrera and her staff are highly skilled, and professional. Their equipment is top notch and the environment is relaxing. The hygienist (Teri) is very thorough and is simply excellent. Awhile back, I came in with a broken tooth, I expected a 2 or 3 visit repair over a course of at least a week. Dr. Herrera figured out the best repair, took the measurements, matched the tooth color, milled a porcelain crown, fitted and bonded it perfectly. I had a porcelain crown in one visit! The crown has been trouble free for years, and it still looks perfect. I have a fantastic dentist and hygienist. It does not get any better.

Kevin M.

Love Dr Herrera and all of the staff! Always courteous, friendly and fun when I visit. They are all very gentle when working on your teeth, so if you have a phobia of the dentist, fear no more! Not only are they easy on your mouth, but they have television screens you can watch while receiving treatment and even massaging chairs! I will continue to refer friends, family and clients to them for great dental care.

Lauren H.

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