The Good News About a Root Canal

»»The Good News About a Root Canal

Anatomy of a Tooth

Root Canal Therapy Halts Pain

Many patients associate “root canal” with pain. In fact, this procedure is about pain relief.

Toothache/tooth pain is commonly due to the buildup of pressure inside an infected tooth. When the nerve is damaged, conventional fillings won’t stop the pain. The answer is to remove the nerve within the tooth without removing the tooth itself. That’s what a “root canal” does, and opening the tooth’s interior (the pulp chamber) relieves the discomfort almost immediately!

Please Note: sometimes infection can be present even if there is no discomfort. In these instances, infection/decay is identified with the help of dental X-rays.

To perform the root canal, we remove the diseased nerve from within the tooth while the patient is under a local anesthetic. A tooth can have one to four canals, and all of the canals must be treated. After the tooth has been cleansed internally, a special material is placed inside to prevent further infection.

Remember: when you arrive at the office for this procedure, the pain is behind you—not ahead.

After the Root Canal

Root canal therapy has a high degree of success, although we cannot always save the tooth. Depending on the extent of the infection, a follow-up appointment may be necessary, and patients may also be prescribed antibiotics. After the procedure, patients may take over-the-counter painkillers if soreness remains, though discomfort at this stage is typically very minor and should subside in a day or two.

At a following appointment, the treated tooth requires a permanent restoration such as a dental crown to provide stability and safeguard the tooth. With the crown in place, it will be indistinguishable from the surrounding natural teeth and can be used normally for biting and chewing.

Who Needs a Root Canal?

See us if you have:

  • Severe toothache
  • Teeth sensitive to heat and cold
  • Pain when biting down
  • Spontaneous or prolonged pain
  • Enlarged area (abscess) along the gumline

About the Author:

Born in Allentown Pennsylvania, into a family of musicians, Rob Pearce grew up studying violin, percussion, jazz arranging and composition. After two years at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he transfer to the pre-dental program at the University of Miami and later moved to San Francisco where he earned his Doctorate in Dentistry (DDS) from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in 1990. For the past twenty eight years he has focused his efforts on mastering the art of high quality, long lasting “metal free dentistry,” a concept that was relatively new at the time but over the years has gained powerful momentum. In 2014 Dr. Pearce became a member of the “Visiting Faculty” of Spear Education, arguably the most prestigious dental continuing education program in the world. As a Spear Open Wide Foundation Ambassador, Dr. Pearce and his team travel to Guatemala to provide metal free dentistry to those who would otherwise receive no dental treatment at all. Dr. Pearce and Annette Rig were honored, and lucky enough to treat the very first patient at the Foundation’s first clinic in 2012. Since then, with the outpouring of support from our member dentists and American equipment manufacturers, we now have six clinics and have treated over 200,000 patients in need! The foundation’s goals include helping improve the education of Guatemala dentists. In 2015, as a member of the Education Development Committee, Dr. Pearce presented an all day lecture and workshop for the faculty and students at the Galvez School of Dentistry in Guatemala City.