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Root Canal

Landmark Dental Arts

Cosmetic Dentist located in San Diego, CA

Although you may think your only option for a painful, infected tooth is to have it pulled, you might be able to save it with a simple root canal. James Berry, DDS and his team at Landmark Dental Arts can fix your tooth before the infection spreads or causes irreparable damage. If you’d like to save your tooth from extraction, call or book an appointment online with the San Diego clinic.

Root Canal Q & A

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure that’s meant to repair a decaying or infected tooth and possibly save it from extraction. During the procedure, Dr. Berry removes the pulp (nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue) inside the tooth and then seals the canal with filling material. The pulp is not essential for mature adult teeth to function, so it can be removed without influencing the way you eat and speak.

A tooth may need a root canal due to infection, which happens when bacteria gets into the pulp through a crack or missing filling. Symptoms of an infected tooth include:

  • Severe tooth pain
  • Swelling or an abscess
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold

What happens during a root canal?

Root canals require one or two appointments, depending on whether or not the tooth needs a crown.

During your root canal appointment, Dr. Berry administers a local anesthetic to numb your gums. He places a rubber dam around your tooth to keep the area dry. Then, he drills a tiny hole through your tooth to reach the pulp. He uses special instruments to clean out the pulp inside the chamber, then sterilizes the canal, and seals the space with filling material.

The procedure can usually be completed during a one-hour appointment and isn’t as intimidating as some people fear. It takes away the pain you feel from the infected tooth. If Dr. Berry recommends a crown over the tooth, he schedules a second appointment for crown placement. A crown protects the tooth and increases its durability.

How do I care for a tooth that has a root canal?

After your root canal, Dr. Berry gives you instructions and explains any precautions you need to take. Your tooth might be sensitive for a short time. If the pain is bothersome, you should be able to manage it with an over-the-counter pain reliever.  

After that, your tooth should return to normal function and not require any special treatment. Continue brushing, flossing, and eating like you normally would. If you maintain good oral health, the root canal should last a lifetime. If you’re ready to schedule a root canal, call Dr. Berry’s office or use the online booking option to get the process started.