Don’t Let Tooth Pain Lead to Tooth Loss

Are you suffering from intense tooth pain? You may be dealing with an infected root canal. At GentleFamily Dentistry, our Bakersfield dentist performs root canal treatments to save your infected tooth and get your oral health back on track. While many patients are apprehensive about root canal treatment due to its reputation, it’s a safe way to restore oral health and maintain your natural teeth.

Our Bakersfield dentist explains the basics of root canal treatment to help patients prepare for treatment and feel more at ease going into their procedures. Contact our dental office today by calling 661-664-9900 to schedule an appointment.

middle-aged man smiling at his dental visit

What Is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to remove the infected pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) and clean and shape the root canals. The root canals are then filled and sealed to prevent bacteria from reinfecting the tooth. This helps save the tooth and prevent further damage or infection.

Each tooth has a soft inner layer known as the pulp. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that keep the tooth healthy and alive. When the pulp becomes infected or damaged, it can lead to pain, sensitivity, and even tooth loss.

Tooth Anatomy 

The anatomy of a tooth has three main parts:

  • Crown: The crown is the visible part of the tooth above the gum line. It’s covered by a protective layer called enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body.
  • Dentin: Beneath the enamel lies the dentin, a yellowish layer that forms the bulk of the tooth structure. While dentin isn’t as hard as enamel, it still provides support and protection.
  • Pulp: The innermost part of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues plays a vital role in tooth development during childhood.

Who Needs a Root Canal?

So, how do you know if you need a root canal? The following factors may result in the need for root canal treatment:

  • Deep Decay: When tooth decay progresses to the point where it reaches the pulp, it can cause infection and inflammation.
  • Dental Trauma: A traumatic injury to a tooth, such as a crack or a severe blow, can damage the pulp and lead to infection.
  • Gum Disease: Gum disease can cause pockets around the tooth, allowing bacteria to enter and infect the pulp.
  • Repeated Dental Procedures: Teeth that have undergone multiple dental procedures or restorations may develop complications, and if the pulp becomes affected, a root canal may be necessary.
  • Severe Toothache: Persistent and severe toothache, especially when accompanied by swelling and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, may indicate pulp infection and the need for a root canal.

Root canal therapy is often the best way to treat these issues and prevent further damage to the tooth and surrounding tissue. Contact our top-rated dentist in Bakersfield today.

woman looking at her teeth in pain in the mirror

Signs of a Dental Infection

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a dental infection that requires root canal therapy:

  • Severe toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Swelling and tenderness in the gums
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Pain when chewing or biting

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Garger as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Don’t let the infection progress enough to cause tooth loss. 

Benefits of Root Canal Treatment

There are many benefits to undergoing root canal treatment, including:

  • Saving the Tooth: Root canal therapy can help save a tooth that would otherwise need extraction.
  • Relieving Pain: Root canal therapy can help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by infection or damage to the pulp.
  • Preventing Further Damage: By removing the infected or damaged pulp, root canal therapy can prevent further damage to the tooth and surrounding tissue.
  • Restoring Function: With a filling in place, a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy can be fully restored and function like a natural tooth.
  • Improved Oral Health: Root canal treatment contributes to overall oral health by addressing and resolving issues within the tooth’s pulp. This prevents the infection from spreading to neighboring teeth and supporting structures.

The Root Canal Treatment Process

At Gentle Family Dentistry, your comfort is our number one priority. During your root canal treatment, the following can be expected:

  1. X-rays: Our Bakersfield dentist will first take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone.
  2. Local Anesthetic: A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth. This is done to make the procedure more comfortable for the patient. If you’re extra nervous, talk to our dentist to see about other dental sedation options.
  3. Isolation of the Tooth: Our dentist will place a rubber dam around the tooth to keep it dry and prevent saliva or other contaminants from entering the treatment area. He’ll then create a small opening in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.
  4. Pulp Removal: The infected or damaged tooth pulp is carefully removed from the pulp chamber and root canals using specialized instruments.
  5. Cleaning and Shaping: After the pulp has been removed, our dentist will clean, enlarge, and shape the canals to prepare them for the filling. This process is usually accomplished with tiny files, and a disinfecting solution may be used to kill any remaining bacteria and wash away debris.
  6. Filling the Canals: Once the canals are cleaned, they’re sealed with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is placed with adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the canals.
  7. Temporary Filling: A temporary filling material is placed on top of the gutta-percha to close the opening until the tooth is ready for its permanent restoration.
  8. Restoration: After healing, the tooth will need a permanent restoration, such as a dental crown or a filling, to replace the lost tooth structure and provide a complete seal to the top of the tooth. This step is crucial to protect the tooth from infection or breaking in the future and to restore its function.

Types of Endodontic Treatments

There are several types of endodontic treatment, and the type you receive will depend on your specific dental needs. Common endodontic treatments include:

  • Root Canal Therapy: This involves removing the infected or damaged pulp and cleaning and filling the root canal. Once the root canal is filled, the tooth is restored with a filling or crown.
  • Apicoectomy: In some cases, root canal therapy may not be enough to treat the infection or damage to the tooth. In these cases, an apicoectomy may be necessary. This involves removing the root’s tip and any infected tissue and sealing the root to prevent further infection.
  • Pulp Capping: If the damage to the tooth is minor and hasn’t caused an infection, your dentist may recommend a pulp capping procedure. This involves placing special material over the damaged pulp to help it heal and prevent further damage.
  • Regenerative Endodontics: This newer type of root canal therapy helps the damaged pulp in young teeth heal and regenerate. This involves using special materials to stimulate the growth of new pulp tissue and blood vessels in the tooth.
  • Root Canal Retreatment: In some cases, a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy may become infected again. In these cases, non-surgical root canal retreatment may be necessary to remove the infection and restore the tooth.
woman looking at her smile at the dentist

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Our Bakersfield Dentist Today for Treatment!

Root canal therapy may seem intimidating, but it can be the most safe and effective way to treat various dental problems. By understanding what it is and how it’s done, you can make informed decisions about your dental health and get the care you need to keep your smile healthy and bright.

Call our Bakersfield dental office at 661-664-9900 to schedule a consultation today!