Root Canal

Root Canal Q & A

What is a root canal?

A root canal procedure saves a tooth that’s infected to the pulp. The pulp is the region inside the hard enamel shell of your tooth that contains nerves and blood vessels. When this pulp gets infected, it can cause extreme pain and sensitivity, and endanger the integrity of the tooth.

A root canal involves drilling a small hole in the tooth, cleaning out the canals containing the pulp, and filling them with a biocompatible, rubber-like material called gutta percha. Dr. Marino then seals the tooth and caps it with a crown to protect it and make it look and function like your natural tooth.

What symptoms indicate that I need a root canal?

Sometimes you don’t have any symptoms, so you won’t know about it until Dr. Marino detects the infection at one of your regular oral exams. However, if you have any of these symptoms, definitely schedule an appointment to be evaluated:

  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages
  • Pain or swelling around a single tooth, especially when chewing
  • A pimple on gums near the tooth
  • Discoloration in the tooth

How does an infection reach the pulp of my tooth?

A tooth that’s had multiple treatments is sometimes vulnerable to deep infection. Cracked or chip teeth may also get infected. Trauma, large fillings, or deep decay are other reasons your tooth might need a root canal.

Does a root canal hurt?

Dr. Marino administers a local anesthetic prior to the treatment, so you’re numb and don’t feel anything. The root canal doesn’t hurt, though the tooth may be sore for a few days afterward. You can easily resolve this discomfort with over-the-counter pain medications. A root canal actually alleviates the severe pain you feel from the infection.

Following a root canal, you treat the tooth just like any of your natural teeth. Brush two times daily, floss at least once daily, and keep up with professional cleanings and dental checkups. A root canal can last a lifetime with proper hygiene.  

If you have severe pain in a tooth, call Dr. Marino’s office or book online for a root canal consultation today.