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Root Canal Therapy in North Phoenix, AZ

Heal Painful Tooth Infections

At Devoted Family Dental, the dentists and their staff want you to disregard just about everything you have heard about a root canal. Why? Because we know that most of the information is either false of exaggerated. The truth is a root canal is a common dental procedure that eliminates the pain of an infected tooth, prevents the spread of infection and may just help you avoid the need for tooth extraction. Most importantly, a root canal is not painful!

What is a Root Canal?

Woman in painA root canal, also known as endodontic treatment, is designed to remove infection from deep inside a tooth. Once this step is completed, the tooth is sealed and prepared for a porcelain crown that will protect the remaining tooth structure.

How Does Tooth Infection Happen?

Cross section of infected toothTo understand how a tooth can become infected in the first place, we first need to examine the structure of a tooth. Each tooth consists of three layers. The outermost layer is called enamel. This extremely hard surface gives your smile an attractive sheen.

Below the enamel is dentin, a somewhat softer and slightly porous material. At the center of each tooth is the pulp chamber. Here, blood, lymph and nerve tissue transport nutrients to the tooth and remove waste through root canals that connect to your bloodstream.

Normally, the chamber and canals are protected by the enamel and dentin. However, if you have a large cavity, a crack or a loose filling, then bacteria can migrate to the interior. When this happens, infection can begin.

What are the Symptoms of an Infected Tooth?

The leading symptom of tooth infection is a severe toothache caused by inflammation.

Other symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Fever
  • A pimple-like sore on gum tissue near the painful tooth
  • Discomfort with normal chewing and biting

There are people who do not experience any symptoms when they have an infected tooth. That is why regular dental checkups and annual digital X-rays are so important. In addition, these visits can help you avoid tooth infection with professional cleanings and examinations that spot decay early before a cavity has the chance to spread.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

Smiling womanAfter the tooth and surrounding tissue are anesthetized, your dentist accesses the pulp chamber and root canals through a small hole. Using special instruments, the infected portion of the tooth is removed. Then, the space is disinfected and filled with a biocompatible substance that expands to fill the chamber and root canals. This supports the remaining tooth structure and prevents recontamination. Finally, the tooth is sealed and prepared for a porcelain crown that will protect your tooth.

Some mild discomfort may be felt after a root canal. For relief, most patients only need a few doses of an over-the-counter pain reliever. Depending on the severity of infection, you may be given a prescription for an oral antibiotic. Your comfort is always a top priority for Devoted Family Dental in North Phoenix.