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San Francisco Root Canal Treatment

Smiling oral surgeon holding her patients hands at San Francisco Dental Arts in San Francisco, CAApproximately 15 million teeth undergo a root canal treatment each year.

So, rest easy because you are not alone.

The words "root canal" strike fear in many patients suffering from tooth pain.

However, you will be happy to know that most people who have received this treatment say it's similar to a dental filling.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

A root canal treatment allows the dentist to remove infection from your tooth, without much pain. Here are a few symptoms to help you identify if the procedure may be required.

Tooth Pain That Won't Go Away

Plenty of things cause tooth pain. However, deep pain that reaches the jaw and surrounding teeth indicates an infection.

It Hurts When You Put Pressure on Your Teeth

Does it hurt after you eat something crunchy? This indicates not only sensitivity but also damaged nerves affecting your tooth pulp.

Swollen Gums

Infected teeth often swell up the gums and make them tender to the touch.

Pimples on the Gums

Infected teeth develop boils or pimples on the gums that ooze pus, which might cause halitosis (bad breath).

Swollen Jaw

If pus isn't drained, the infection becomes severe and can cause your jaw to swell.

Discolored Tooth

The swelling caused by infection stops blood from reaching the teeth. This discolors your tooth, giving it a dark appearance.

Loose Tooth

If the pus starts to leak, it impacts the dentin underneath your tooth enamel. The bacteria softens them, loosening the tooth.

Step-by-Step Root Canal Procedure

A San Francisco root canal procedure is completed in four steps. These are explained in detail below:

Step #1 – Cleaning the Root Canal

The dentist first reviews the patient's dental history. This allows them to determine which medicine the patient is allergic to.

The procedure starts with our dentist giving the patient local anesthesia. Next up is an X-ray of the tooth. This reveals how much the infection has spread.

To ensure the surgery site remains clean, our dentist uses a dental dam.

This is a protective sheet that is placed near the tooth. It helps isolate the infected area. As a result, any buildup of saliva does not reach the tooth.

Step #2 – Shaping the Root Canal

To prepare for the root canal, our dentist makes a small cut in the crown. Using very small instruments, they clean the pulp and shape the space.

Diagram of tooth showing tooth root from San Francisco Dental Arts in San Francisco, CA

Step #3 – Filling the Root Canal

After the space is cleaned, it is shaped and readied to receive the filling. This is usually a biocompatible material called gutta-percha.

Made from a rubber-like substance, this is a permanent filling. The gutta-percha is fixed in place with cement, sealing the root canal.

If there's swelling, our dentist uses a temporary filling, which is later removed at the time of restoration.

Step #4 – Adding a Crown

Once the filling is in place, you will receive a dental crown.

Depending on how severely the tooth is impacted, the dentist might recommend other restoration options for full function.

If the tooth has no support structure, another step is added to the procedure.

Your dentist will insert a post inside the tooth to keep it steady. For more information on the precise restoration of your tooth, speak with our team today!

Root Canal Recovery – Aftercare

Root canal treatments have a 95% success rate. They help restore teeth that last a lifetime.

Many people can resume their daily routine within a few days. While the numbness wears off immediately, you might experience some sensitivity.

This occurs due to inflammation and can be easily minimized with painkillers. Though rare, complications can occur. If the root wasn't cleaned properly, you must watch out for new infections.

Undetected cracks in a tooth's root, minor openings in the sealing, and restoration problems cause bacteria to contaminate the site.

In such cases, your dentist will recommend surgery, such as root-end resection. This will minimize inflammation, saving the tooth.

With the permanent filling in place, your once fragile tooth will now be ready for chewing.

A root canal becomes necessary after a tooth infection or decay. This happens when you don't maintain a regular oral hygiene routine.

So, brush and floss regularly, and keep up with your yearly dental appointments.

Minimizing Root Canal Pain

It is common to experience pain after a root canal for a few days. Though the pain is less because the infection is removed, a slight discomfort may persist.

Here are some tips to try for root canal pain relief:

•  Take OTC pain medication, like ibuprofen, to reduce swelling
•  Place an ice pack on your jaw to calm the pain
•  Keep your head elevated. This eases the nerves and gums from throbbing.
•  Gargle with saltwater. This can help kill any remaining bacteria that might cause a new infection. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle at least three times daily.

If the pain continues, visit our dentist immediately.

Risks of Root Canals

A root canal treatment can fail. This happens not because you didn't take proper post-procedure care but because the root canal wasn't the right fit.

Our dentist will inspect your teeth and recommend cleaning the infection for another root canal.

However, if the tooth cannot be saved and is completely damaged beyond repair, we may recommend a dental bridge or implant.

Tips to Avoid a Root Canal Treatment

•  Having a consistent oral hygiene routine is the best way to avoid a root canal
•  You must visit your dentist twice yearly to ensure all your teeth are in good shape
•  Brushing and flossing keep your teeth and smile fresh
•  Using mouthwash helps remove dental plaque that causes cavities
•  Replace your toothbrush every three months
•  Avoid drinking sugary and carbonated drinks

If you are experiencing severe tooth pain and are having difficulty chewing, your tooth might be infected.

Visit our San Francisco dentist to get a thorough dental checkup and uncover the cause of the problem. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 415-854-9396 today!

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