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Tempe, AZ 85284

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Root Canal Therapy

Teeth are unique to other parts of the body for many reasons – one of those reasons being the fact that a tooth cannot self-heal. Once a tooth is badly damaged, patients are at risk for losing the tooth along with developing painful, dangerous infections, called abscesses. At Beautiful Dentistry, Dr. Heap and our team help our patients achieve and maintain comfortable oral function by providing restorative and endodontic services. Endodontic therapy, such as root canal treatment, repairs damage to the inside of a tooth, restores oral function, and preserves as much natural tooth structure as possible.

Root canal therapy is a specific form of treatment that addresses internal damage and infection to a tooth. This highly successful procedure literally saves teeth from developing abscesses as well as the need for surgical extraction. An endodontic procedure, root canal therapy involves removing the infected tissue inside a tooth, cleaning it and sealing it. In many cases, root canal treatment may be followed with a restoration such as a filling, dental crown, onlay or inlay.

The Root Canal

The root canal houses the endings of nerves and cellular matter called dental pulp. This part of the tooth is a chamber-like area inside the roots. In a healthy tooth, the root canal is not exposed to oral bacteria and debris; however, if a tooth is cracked, chipped or badly decayed, bacteria and debris in the mouth can migrate to the inside of a tooth. When the nerve endings and dental pulp are exposed to bacteria and irritants, the risk of infection is high. Infected nerve endings are painful, too. An internally infected tooth that goes untreated can have devastating consequences on a patient’s oral health and wellbeing. Untreated infections can spread to the gums and bone while killing the nerves and blood vessels inside a tooth.

How Root Canal Therapy Works

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Using small and precise dental tools, Dr. Heap will access the root canal to remove the infected nerve and dental pulp. This process is important for alleviating discomfort and improving oral function. The inside of the tooth is then cleaned and sealed to prevent further damage. This treatment prevents the infection from affecting neighboring tissue and from the need for extraction. When performing root canal therapy, Dr. Heap will use anesthetics and medication, if necessary, to ensure a comfortable, positive experience for our guests.

Common Questions

A root canal is a part of a tooth’s anatomical structure. It is located deep inside the tooth at the top of the root system. A hollowed chamber, the root canal holds the nerve endings and dental pulp of a tooth. This living material is essential for the growth and development of a tooth but once a tooth is fully developed, it is not necessary for healthy tooth function.

When teeth are cracked or deeply decayed, it can lead to bacteria entering the root canal and infecting it. A healthy tooth’s root canal is protected from pathogens and oral debris but if it is damaged deep enough, bacteria can enter the root canal. Without any defense against harmful bacteria, the nerves and dental pulp can become infected. When the root canal is infected, endodontic treatment is necessary. Endodontics or “root canal therapy” involves removing the infected tissue of the canal and cleaning it out. The root canal is then sealed to protect the tooth from becoming so diseased that it can’t be saved.

Recovery from root canal treatment is relatively fast. Most people resume normal everyday activities the day after treatment. Some patients may need to eat soft foods for a few days if the treatment site is sore.

Since local anesthetics are used, root canal treatment is not uncomfortable. In fact, most patients liken the sensation of receiving root canal therapy to receiving a filling. The sensation patients typically feel is pressure, not pain. Root canal therapy will actually alleviate discomfort because the infected nerve ending is removed. An infected nerve ending is very painful. Not only will an infected root canal kill a tooth without treatment, it will produce severe discomfort and make oral function very painful for patients.

The cost of a root canal depends on whether a patient has insurance and the type of tooth being treated. Larger teeth like molars have more root canals than an incisor or canine. Therefore, a tooth with more root canals require longer treatment. For estimates, talk with our front desk staff.

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