When a tooth becomes painful because of tooth decay or infection, root canal therapy can save the tooth. Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment is typically pain-free and a highly successful procedure that can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth!

What is Root Canal Therapy?

In endodontics treatment, root canal therapy is relatively simple. The dentist will remove the infected pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay.

Then they’ll fill the resulting space with specially medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth’s full function. Occasionally, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs & Symptoms of a Tooth Infection

Unfortunately, sometimes no symptoms are present when it comes to a tooth infection. Seeing your dentist every six months can help prevent and catch dental problems early. But here are some of the most common signs you may need a root canal:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe toothache pain
  • Gum swelling/tenderness

Is There an Alternative to Root Canal Therapy?

The only alternative to saving a tooth with a root canal, is having the tooth extracted. Many patients believe that just removing a tooth is the best solution. But, extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly to replace with a bridge, dental implant, or other restorative option.

Pulling problem teeth will also cause significant problems for your neighboring teeth. For example, your teeth may shift to compensate for newfound gaps in your smile, changing your facial structure and making it more difficult to brush your teeth.

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 to complete. It can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

First Appointment

While the tooth is numb, we will place a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth. Then, 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’ll also be removed with special dental instruments.

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

Second Appointment

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

Following Treatment

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. We’ll also make sure to give you care instructions after each appointment.

Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will help keep your tooth healthy long after root canal therapy!


Looking for Endodontics Treatment in Watsonville?


Tooth infections can be painful and comfortable. But here at the Watsonville Dental Wellness Center, our dentists are extremely knowledgeable and have several years of experience in providing endodontics care, especially in root canal therapy! Contact us today to make an appointment if you’re seeing the signs of a dental issue.

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