Kyle Taylor, DDS

Tranquil Bay Dental

2415 Penny Road Suite 203

High Point, NC 27265

336-884-8989

At Deep River Pointe

Root Canals

Illustration of tooth root

Repairing an Infected Tooth with a Root Canal

Talk about being misunderstood! Root canals have a bad reputation among patients, who often have been told that a root canal is the most painful dental procedure they’ll ever have to endure.  However, today’s root canals are virtually painless under most circumstances owing to modern anesthetic and sedative techniques.

If you notice that one of your teeth is extremely sensitive to hot or cold foods/beverages, you have a newly discolored tooth, a “pimple” on the gums that suddenly appears and can be seen oozing liquid or pus, or a tooth that hurts a lot when you bite or chew foods, you may need a root canal to treat an infection in your tooth’s pulp.  “Pulp” refers to the soft tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that are located in the center of the tooth. A root canal is necessary when the pulp of a tooth is infected or dead, which may happen when:

  • you have untreated tooth decay (cavities)
  • you have a severe crack in your tooth
  • you have injured a tooth or your jaw due to trauma

What is a Root Canal?

In simple terms, it is a rubber-like replacement for the pulp or nerve of the tooth. Under local anesthetic, a small opening is made in the biting surface of the tooth and the “nerve” of the tooth is cleaned out, leaving from one to four canals open and void, until the rubber-like substance (gutta percha) is inserted, acting like a hermetic seal (a moisture-tight, airtight barrier between the root and the bone surrounding the tooth).

illustration of root canal procedure

How Much Do Root Canals Hurt?

When you have a root canal, the dentist will administer local anesthetic just as they would be if you were having a routine filling or a tooth extraction.  In fact, the pain you are feeling before you have the procedure—pain that results from an infection in or other damage to the pulp of one or more of your teeth—is likely far worse than you will feel during or after the procedure.

While every situation differs, for the most part, the patients who come into our office with little to no discomfort have very comfortable procedures and leave to recover from their root canals with little or easily-managed, mild tenderness. Unfortunately, some patients come in with what we call “hot” teeth, which is a term used to identify a tooth that is going to take extra care to numb and keep comfortable during and after the procedure. Oftentimes, though, these patients have been hurting for days; short of losing an otherwise good tooth to an extraction, there is no procedure that will cure them of all discomfort in a snap.

After a Root Canal

So, the root canal just saved your tooth, but what made it go bad in the first place (often decay or a deep filling), needs to be addressed.  All teeth behind the canine teeth—the molars and premolars—require a foundation and crown after a root canal. The canines and incisors, called “anteriors” or “front teeth” may or may not require a crown following a root canal, depending on the integrity or perceived strength of the tooth before and after the root canal.

The best way to avoid needing a root canal is to take care of your teeth!  Good oral hygiene practices—including twice daily brushing, flossing, regular checkups, and protecting your teeth with a mouth guard when playing sports—will significantly reduce the likelihood that you’ll need to have a root canal.

If you do need to have a root canal in High Point, NC, we specialize in gentle root canal treatment.  Please call us today at 336-884-8989 to discuss your dental needs. We are conveniently located in the Deep River area of High Point in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina.