Root Canals – Causes, Problems and Treatments

Root canal is a term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root can...

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Root canal is a term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal which is where the tooth’s nerves reside.  Here at Procopio Towel Dental Office, our experienced dentists are specialists in saving your natural teeth using advanced technologies to treat you quickly and comfortably. 

Step-By-Step Process of Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment is used to repair and save an infected or decaying tooth. During the root canal procedure, a dentist will remove the nerve and pulp, afterwards cleaning the inside of the tooth. Once the cleaning process is complete, the tooth will then be sealed to begin the healing process. 

  • To begin the root canal treatment, our endodontist will numb the infected or damaged tooth using local anesthesia 
  • They will then insert a small shield to isolate the tooth - keeping it clean and dry
  • An opening is then made through the crown of the tooth and into the chamber 
  • The fluid is put into the canals to kill any bacteria and to rinse out debris 
  • Consequently, the pulp is removed. Utilizing small instruments, our endodontist carefully cleans and shapes the canals 
  • After space has been appropriately manipulated, the endodontist fills and seals the root canals. A temporary filling is often incorporated to protect the outer layer of your tooth and allow it to heal from the infection
  • If necessary, you must return to your dentist to have your tooth properly restored with a filling or crown to protect the tooth for any future infections 

Signs that warrant a return trip to the dentist

Common symptoms and signs associations with root canal infections include; 

  • Pain or discomfort - ranging from mild tenderness to unbearable pain, especially when you apply pressure from eating or pressing on the tooth, or expose the tooth to extreme temperatures (i.e., consuming cold or hot drinks)
  • Red, warm or swollen tissues near or surrounding the tooth, especially the gums. In some cases, swelling can also affect your face and neck too.
  • Tenderness or discomfort in swollen tissues, especially when you touch or apply pressure to it.
  • A bad taste in your mouth or a bad smell permeating from your breath caused from the infected tissues 

What causes root canal infections after treatment?  There are many reasons why a tooth can have an infection after a root canal. These include: 

  • The shape of your root canals can be very complicated and areas of infection may go undetected in the first procedure
  • Your tooth could have narrow or curved canals that weren’t fully cleaned and disinfected during the root canal 
  • Your tooth may also have additional accessory canals that could be housing bacteria which may reinfect a tooth 
  • If the placement of the crown or permanent restoration is delayed following treatment, it could allow harmful bacteria back into your tooth 
  • Your tooth may get a new cavity after treatment, or become cracked or damaged, leading to a new root canal infection 

Benefits of Root Canal Treatment

There are many clinical reasons for needing root canal treatment, but there are also countless practical reasons as to why saving your natural tooth is a beneficial choice for your overall dental wellbeing. Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile whilst continuing to enjoy the foods you love the most. With professional care, root canal treatments can also last a lifetime. The main benefits associated with root canal treatment, it stops the spread of infection to neighboring teeth. One of the major benefits associated with root canal treatment is its ability to prevent the spread of infection within the mouth. As outlined in the treatment section, root canal procedures involve the removal of bacteria from the tooth. Once the bacteria is removed, the tooth is often cleaned and disinfected to prevent toothache or decay. After the infected tooth has been treated, there is no room for the bacteria to spread, ultimately safeguarding you from multiple dental trips and costly repairs to your teeth. 

  • Root canal treatment has a naturalistic result 

Root canal therapy involves the treatment of the tooth pulp or nerve and finishing it with a crown or a dental filling. The treated tooth is sealed with a tooth-colored filling or crown that provides a new and beautiful appearance. At Procopio Towle Dental Office, we provide quality root canal treatment that restores both the functionality and the aesthetic of your teeth. 

  • It prevents the jawbone to degenerate

Root canal treatment also has the ability to preserve teeth. Because of this, you are able to avoid the degeneration of your jawbone - a damaging side effect associated with the loss of a tooth or teeth.   Bones are strengthened by a physical stimulus. For your jawbone, that includes the force exerted on your jaws by chewing and biting and the way those forces travel through your teeth. When a tooth is missing, the bone loses its stimulus in that spot and your body begins signaling osteoclasts to break down the jawbone. New bones are still being formed, but at a lower rate than bone that is being destroyed. Consequently, fixing the decay or infection during a root canal treatment and preserving the tooth facilitates the continuation of movement in your mouth - ultimately stimulating the bones.  

  • It enhances oral and overall health 

Severe tooth decay can greatly affect the overall oral health of an individual and pose greater health implications beyond the mouth. It is widely regarded that tooth decay can cultivate the early onset of heart diseases, diabetes, and respiratory infections - which in some cases can result in death (for more information check out our blog on gum disease and the importance of routine checkups). 

  • Virtually pain-free procedure 

Root canal treatment is virtually a painless process and often leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your natural tooth extracted. Our dentists here at Procopio Towle Dental Office utilizes modern techniques, advanced technologies, and effective anesthesia to create a comfortable treatment. 

Tips for preventing root canal infections

There are several preventative steps that you can take to stop a root canal infection, which involves taking care of your teeth after the procedure: 

  • Brush and floss at least twice a day 
  • Use a gentle, antiseptic mouthwash for the first few days after a root canal. Use it as often as you’d like afterward, too 
  • Use an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen for soreness after treatment 
  • Return to your dentist for a final crown or permanent restoration as soon as possible. This will seal the root canal from bacteria and protect your tooth
  • Get dental cleanings at least twice a year to keep your teeth generally healthy and catch decay or infection early 
  • See your dentist right away if you notice any early signs of infection 

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The best and gentle Dentists and Team Member of Procopio Towle Dental Office are dedicated to providing top quality dental care to patients in Walnut Creek the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area.

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2229 Olympic Boulevard Walnut Creek, CA 94595


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