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Root Canals


Diagram of tooth showing tooth rootDespite your best efforts to keep your mouth healthy, sometimes issues happen. Certain types of oral health issues can result in tooth infection. Once an infection develops, it does not go away on its own. Treatment is essential for eliminating the infection, restoring your oral health, and preserving the tooth. At Advanced Dental Associates, we can do this with a root canal.

How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?


A root canal is a treatment for a tooth infection. However, how do you know if you have an infection? One of the most obvious signs you have an infection is a painful toothache. An infection happens because bacteria has gotten inside of your tooth. This may happen because you have a crack or decay. Inside the tooth, the bacteria irritate the pulp, or soft tissue, which leads to inflammation. There are nerves in the pulp, which causes you to feel pain. You may also notice some swelling near the tooth or a bad taste in your mouth.

Some may notice that the pain eventually disappears after enough time. This does not mean that your infection is gone. If there truly is an infection, the sudden lack of pain could indicate that the nerve inside of the tooth has died. It is still important to be seen as soon as possible.

Aren’t Root Canals Painful?


There’s a common misconception that root canals are painful. While this may have been true a long time ago, root canal treatment today is painless. A local anesthetic is administered near the tooth, numbing it and the surrounding area. All you will feel during the procedure is pressure.

Once the local anesthetic takes effect, a small hole is drilled into the tooth. The drills we use today are much quieter than the ones that have been used in the past. After removing the infected pulp and cleaning out the interior of the tooth, a rubber material is placed inside. This material effectively seals the canals to prevent new bacteria from getting inside. Finally, a temporary filling is placed to seal the access hole. It is important that a more permanent restoration be placed as soon as possible after your root canal. This may be a permanent filling or a dental crown. We can help you to choose the best restoration for you.

How Long Will My Root Canal Last?


Root canals have a very high success rate. In a vast majority of cases, a treated tooth can go on to remain fully functional for the rest of your life. However, there are some cases in which the tooth develops a new infection, resulting in the need for a root canal retreatment. New infection can happen because the tooth was not properly cleaned, the tooth was contaminated during treatment, or the restoration was not placed soon enough. You may also develop a new infection because the restoration is damaged or your tooth suffers trauma. Root canal retreatment involves removing your old restoration and the filling material so that we can clean out the tooth again. Once clean, it is filled again, and a new restoration is placed.

In some cases, an apicoectomy is needed. In rare cases, a tooth needs to be extracted. Following successful root canal retreatment, your tooth can remain fully functional for the rest of your life.

Don’t ignore a toothache. Call Advanced Dental Associates at (210) 714-5589 to schedule your appointment today.


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