Root Canal Therapy

A root canal procedure? No one likes “root canals,” right? Well, here at Washington Smiles, we try our very best to make you as comfortable as possible during your root canal procedure.

? What is a root canal?

The root canal is actually a part of the tooth. The part of the tooth you can see is called the crown of the tooth. The crown has a soft center that is filled with nerves and blood vessels, which also run through the tooth roots, down into the gums, and inside narrow tunnels known as root canals.

When these areas become infected, the condition becomes known as an abscessed tooth. The infection can spread through the root canals and into the gums. The root canal treatment will remove the infection without extracting the tooth.

? What is root canal therapy and treatment?

A root canal procedure removes the infection from the tooth’s soft center, which saves the rest of the tooth. A toothache or gum pain can actually be signs of an infection, which can also indicate an abscessed tooth.

Tooth decay and trauma can expose the inner tooth to infection and bacteria. Our dentists do not want your infection to spread to other parts of the mouth so a root canal procedure is the solution to getting rid of the infection.

During the procedure, we remove all of the infected soft tissue, and then we clean and fill the hard tissue of the tooth.

What to expect during the root canal procedure

At Washington Smiles, we do everything we can to ensure a comfortable office visit for your root canal procedure. We offer several types of sedation to ease your anxieties and worries. With sedation and local anesthetics, many patients only experience minimal discomfort during root canal therapy treatment.

We may complete your root canal treatment here in our office or we may refer you to an endodontist who specializes in root canal procedures. This is what happens during the root canal procedure:

  • The dentist will create an opening in the tooth’s hard surface. Then, the dentist will use a special tool to clean out the soft tissue, bacteria, infection, and the nerves.
  • After the soft tissue has been removed, the dentist will use a special filling material to keep out future infection in the empty spaces, including the root canals. Sometimes the dentist may wait one week to make sure the infection is gone before permanently filling the tooth. In the meantime, a temporary filling will be used to close the tooth until the next appointment.
  • After root canal treatment, your tooth may be a bit more brittle than the other natural teeth in your mouth. Because of this, a dental crown may be created and placed on your tooth. This will provide extra support for your new tooth.

Alternatives to root canal treatment

Sometimes root canal treatment may not be the best solution. If the tooth is badly infected and cannot be saved, the tooth may need to be extracted. That is the only alternative to root canal treatment for an abscessed tooth.

If your tooth needs to be extracted, we highly recommend replacing your missing tooth with a dental implant, partial denture, or a bridge. Our dentists at Washington Smiles can discuss all of your options with you.