Most people don’t get excited when root canal therapy is mentioned, but the fact that it can save your tooth and help prevent extensive dental work down the road is something you can feel good about. At Hanfu Lee, DDS, located in Arcadia, California, Dr. Lee specializes in cosmetic and restorative dentistry, making root canals as painless as possible for his patients. If you suspect you need a root canal, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy, also known simply as a root canal, is a treatment to repair a badly decayed or infected tooth. During a root canal, Dr. Lee preserves your tooth by removing the infection from the tooth’s root, so you don’t lose the tooth. With today’s technology, root canals are no longer a painful dental procedure. Instead, root canal therapy relieves the pain associated with a decaying or damaged tooth so you can feel better faster.

A root canal is the treatment of choice for teeth that might otherwise die from infection and need to be removed. It can also help you avoid more costly dental work in the future.

When would I need root canal therapy?

The pulp is the soft core of a tooth that extends from the crown — the visible part of your tooth — into the root below your jawbone. If a tooth becomes cracked or decayed with a deep cavity, bacteria can spread from the crown into the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth’s pulp. When this happens, the pulp often becomes infected and causes intense pain. If left untreated, the infection can cause an abscess with swelling in your face, neck, or gums.

A root canal relieves these uncomfortable symptoms, prevents the infection from spreading beyond your mouth, and saves your tooth from dying. Some signs you need root canal therapy include:

  • An abscess, or bump, like a pimple, on your gums
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages
  • Severe tooth and mouth pain
  • Swelling or tenderness around the infected tooth

Decay or trauma can damage a tooth enough to require a root canal to save the tooth and relieve your symptoms.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal may involve one or more dental appointments depending on the severity of your infection or damage sustained by your tooth. Dr. Lee makes your comfort a priority during your treatment and numbs your mouth before beginning to clean the tooth. He then places a rubber dental dam over the tooth to keep it dry during treatment.

Dr. Lee makes an opening in the crown of your tooth and uses a series of files and a rotary instrument to remove the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria from inside the tooth’s root. After Dr. Lee removes all signs of decay and infection, he cleans the tooth and seals it with a permanent or temporary filling. At your follow-up appointment, Dr. Lee places a custom-made crown over the tooth to protect it from further decay.

To learn more about preserving your tooth with root canal therapy, call the office or book an appointment online today.