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Restore Your Smile with Root Canal Therapy

Woman holding cheek in painWhen you hear the phrase, “root canal,” do you cringe? If you said yes, you’re in good company. Most people consider root canals one of the scariest sounding dental procedures available. The team at Mariya Barnett, DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry has good news for you. Root canal therapy actually safely relieves pain and allows us to help patients avoid unnecessary tooth loss. We know root canal therapy is probably still an intimidating concept, so we invite you to read more on this page or contact our Dallas dental team to find out more today.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a restorative procedure that is necessary when tooth decay or damage reaches the inner layer of the tooth called the pulp. The nerve system of the tooth is housed within the dental pulp, so when decay and damage reaches this layer of the tooth, the result can be a severe toothache or dental sensitivity. Root canal therapy allows us to relieve this pain, restore the full form and function of the tooth, and prevent unnecessary tooth loss.

How do I know if I Need a Root Canal?

The only way to be certain you’re in need of a root canal is to visit your dentist. However, by knowing the warning signs of root canal infection, you may be able to receive treatment more quickly. The following are the most frequently experienced early warning signs associated with root canals:

  • Severe toothache - can be a constant dull throb or sharp pain when biting down
  • Dental sensitivity - when tooth is exposed to heat or cold lingering tooth pain will occur
  • Tooth discoloration - typically, the tooth will darken in spots near the gum line
  • Gum infection or inflammation - will be centered around one tooth and may appear as swelling, darkening color, or small, pimple-like sores on gum tissue

What Should I Expect During Root Canal Therapy?

Root canals are often treated as dental emergencies. Without regular preventive maintenance, a small cavity or minor chip may develop into a serious root canal infection. When this happens, Dr. Barnett encourages patients to give her a call right away no matter the time or day of the week. Once we’ve determined you need a root canal, the procedure itself is relatively straightforward. We begin by numbing the area and drilling a small access hole from the top of the tooth into the innermost pulp layer. Then, we extract the damaged pulp and nerve tissue. The tooth is refilled with a substance called gutta percha that functions similarly to the extracted pulp tissue. Next, the access hole is resealed. In most cases, we will also recommend a dental crown be placed to protect and strengthen the root canal treated tooth. In rare cases, we may need to schedule additional visits to treat infection in the gums surrounding the tooth or inside the tooth itself.