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Root Canal Therapy

A root canal is a tooth-saving treatment performed to clear the mouth of bacteria and infections. Below the roots of a tooth lies the inner pulp chamber, which houses a collection of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When a tooth becomes damaged or weakened by decay, bacteria can penetrate the dental pulp and cause inflammation, infection, or even an abscess. Root canal therapy is among the most effective treatments to not only alleviate pain caused by a tooth infection, but also to save a damaged tooth from extraction. Dr. Landon Libby and our Mission Valley dental team use gentle techniques and compassionate patient care to clean infected regions of the mouth, and restore the health of your damaged tooth.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a procedure designed to remove infected or diseased tissue from the root of a tooth. Sometimes known as “endodontics,” a root canal is typically performed when tooth decay, cracks in the tooth, or deep cavities create an infection or abscess in the inner dental pulp. Once a tooth becomes infected, a root canal is often the only way to rid the tooth of inflamed or infected tissue, cleanse the pulp chamber, and save a tooth from extraction. Contrary to common dental myths, root canal therapy typically involves very little discomfort for most patients — a root canal can even bring you relief by resolving the pain of an infection!

Do I Need a Root Canal?

In addition to poor oral hygiene, other factors like smoking, an injury to the tooth structure, or issues with a previously treated cavity can cause the underlying dental pulp to become inflamed. Untreated, this inflammation can turn into a debilitating infection. Common signs of an infected tooth generally include:

  • Sharp, throbbing, or aching pain — especially when biting
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in the mouth
  • A persistent bad taste in the mouth
  • Discoloration or pimples on the gums
  • Redness, bleeding, soreness, or inflammation 
  • Fever symptoms

A tooth infection will never heal on its own. In fact, failing to address a potential infection can worsen the damage and allow the infection to spread to other parts of the body, such as the jaw, neck, and head. While living with an abscess or an infected tooth can make it difficult to perform even simple daily tasks, rest assured that our team is ready to help alleviate your pain by developing an endodontic treatment plan designed to resolve your symptoms and restore a clean, healthy mouth.  

How is the Root Canal Procedure Performed?

Nowadays, root canal therapy can be performed more gently and comfortably than ever. Prior to treating your tooth, the affected area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Our dentist can discuss sedation dentistry options with you further if desired, but most patients generally report little to no discomfort during treatment. Special instruments are then used to disinfect and sterilize the pulp chamber of bacteria. Once the infection is cleared, the root canals and pulp chamber will be sealed and a temporary filling will be placed. Patients then return for a follow-up appointment to obtain a permanent filling or a dental crown, thereby restoring the full integrity of your tooth. This should make it much easier to chew and bite, as well as help protect the tooth from further infection. 

Our team at Libby Dental understands how painful and uncomfortable it can be to live with a tooth infection. Our dentists employ gentle methods to rid the mouth of bacteria, sterilize the pulp chamber, and reclaim a healthy, fully functioning tooth. Please contact our Mission Valley office if you have any questions, or if you would like to have your tooth examined by Dr. Libby.