What Is a Root Canal?

What is a root canal?

We’ve all heard of them, but what exactly is a root canal, anyway? Turns out, this dental treatment is a lot more common and a lot less scary than people think! Also referred to as endodontic therapy, root canals treat infections that arise from deep inside your tooth—otherwise known as the root canal. The root canal is the part of the tooth that holds nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells called the pulp. If there is an infection or inflammation in the pulp, a root canal is performed to save the tooth from needing an extraction or from total decay. Millions of teeth are treated every year with root canals, and the procedure has helped patients relieve their pain and keep their teeth healthy! At Heflin Family Dentistry in Albuquerque, we provide in-house root canal treatments to ensure our patients have a comfortable, stress-free dental experience!

Do I need a root canal?

There are many symptoms that can result in needing a root canal, but ultimately in order to be certain, your dentist will have to look at x-rays of your teeth and determine the overlying cause of your pain.

Here are just a few symptoms to keep an eye out for:

  • Lingering of tooth sensitivity to hot or cold 
  • Pain while chewing or biting 
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • Tenderness of gums

The best plan of action is to schedule an appointment with Doctor Heflin at Heflin Family Dentistry if you’re feeling any pain. From there, our specialist will be able to diagnose the source of your discomfort and walk you through your treatment options.

What is the procedure like?

A local anesthetic is administered in order to numb the tooth and the area around it. Then, Dr. Heflin will clean the inside of the root canal by removing the infected pulp. Once clean, the tooth will need to be filled and sealed to prevent cavities and/or a future infection. Doctor Heflin may prescribe you over the counter medication and you may experience numbness for a short while after your visit. The tooth may also require a restoration, such as a crown.

Root canals are the ideal method for saving a tooth from an infection! If a root canal cannot be performed on an infected tooth, it may require endodontic surgery or complete extraction.

Be sure to maintain good oral hygiene such as brushing and flossing every day, and seeing your dentist regularly. If you feel any type of discomfort and suspect you may need a root canal, call us at Heflin Family Dentistry in Albuquerque to schedule an appointment now! (505) 883-0323.