Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to save a damaged or infected tooth by removing the damaged or infected pulp from the root canal. Root canals are a common procedure performed by dentists to help patients avoid tooth extraction and to restore the functionality of their teeth. Below are some of the reasons why someone might need a root canal. We have also included information about the prevalence and history of root canals, the procedure itself,  associated pain, how long it takes to heal, and how Dr. Brenda Evans Louka's dental office in El Cajon, CA, can help with root canal services.

Prevalence and history of Root Canals

Root canals have been performed for over a century and are a standard procedure performed by dentists around the world. In fact, it is estimated that over 15 million root canals are performed each year in the United States alone. Root canals have a high success rate, and most patients experience relief from pain and infection following the procedure.

You might be surprised to learn that root canal therapy has been practiced since the late 1700s. Thankfully there has been much improvement since dentists first used root canals as a dental treatment. Today, many patients report that having a root canal is similar to the mild discomfort of having a filling placed.

toot x ray

Reasons for a Root Canal

The most common reason for a root canal is an infection in the pulp of the tooth, which can occur due to a cavity, crack, or trauma. The infection can cause severe pain and swelling; if left untreated, it can lead to abscesses, bone loss, and even tooth loss. Other reasons for a root canal include deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a large filling, or a crack or chip in the tooth that exposes the nerve. The root canal procedure is often the only way to save the tooth and prevent the spread of infection.

The Procedure Itself

The root canal procedure typically involves several steps, beginning with an initial consultation with the dentist to assess the tooth and discuss treatment options. Once the decision to proceed with a root canal has been made, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic to ensure the patient does not experience any pain during the procedure.

Next, the dentist will create a small access hole in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals. Using special tools, the dentist will remove the damaged or infected pulp from the canals and reshape them to prepare for filling. Once the canals have been cleaned and shaped, the dentist will fill them with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha and seal the access hole with a temporary filling.

The final step of the root canal procedure involves placing a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect it and restore its function. The dentist may initially place a temporary crown on the tooth, and a permanent crown will be placed at a later appointment.

Healing Time and Pain

After a root canal procedure, patients may experience some discomfort and sensitivity in the affected tooth for several days. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, can help manage any pain or discomfort. It is also important to avoid chewing on the affected tooth until the final restoration is in place. The healing time can vary from patient to patient, but most people are fully healed within a few weeks.

man holding tooth

Dr. Brenda Evans Louka Dental Office in El Cajon CA

If you are in need of a root canal, Dr. Brenda Evans Louka's dental office in El Cajon, CA, can provide you with the expert care you need. Dr. Louka has extensive experience performing root canals and is dedicated to providing her patients with the highest quality dental care in a comfortable and welcoming environment.

At Dr. Brenda Evans Louka's dental office, patients can expect a personalized approach to their dental care, with a focus on patient education and communication. Dr. Louka and her team will work with you to ensure you understand all aspects of your treatment, from the reasons for the root canal to the healing process and aftercare.

We offer many different dental treatments at our El Cajon office. Call today to schedule an appointment; let's find out how we can help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve!

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