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What to Know About Root Canals

Many people hear the words “root canal” and are instantly afraid. This dental procedure gets a bad reputation. However, root canals aren’t something that you have to worry about. Dr. Andrew C. Cobb, a dentist in Washington, D.C., explains the root canal process and why you don’t have to see it as something to fear.dentist in washington dc

What is a Root Canal?

Technically, the root canal is actually a part of your tooth. It’s the hollow area on the inside that holds the dental pulp and nerves of the tooth. However, when many people mention a root canal, they’re talking about a root canal procedure. This procedure is done to treat an infection that gets into the dental pulp inside your tooth. The pulp swells up and pushes against the outside of the tooth, causing the pain many people associate with a root canal.

How Can I Tell if I Need a Root Canal?

Some people might not have any symptoms at all when they have an infection in the dental pulp. Otherwise, you may experience something like the following. If you have any of these, make sure you call your Washington, D.C. dentist right away:

  • Severe tooth pain, especially when you bite or chew something
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages that lasts a while
  • Gums being sore or tender around a particular tooth
  • Your tooth is discolored, often darker

All of these are indications that you might need to get a root canal procedure.

The Root Canal Process

Contrary to popular belief, root canal procedures aren’t painful. In fact, they often help relieve the pain you’ve been experiencing because they remove the infection and pressure from your tooth. Getting a root canal is comparable to getting a dental filling for a tooth cavity. It’s not an extensive, painful procedure that its reputation may have led you to believe.

First, Dr. Cobb will perform an examination of your tooth. A root canal can save your tooth from needing a tooth extraction. We want to help you save your tooth whenever possible. If it’s determined that a root canal will do the trick, we can proceed with the procedure.

A small hole is drilled into the back of your tooth so that the dentist can access the interior. All of the infected dental pulp is removed with a special tool that’s designed specifically for this purpose. Once Dr. Cobb is sure it’s all out of there, the interior of the tooth will be thoroughly cleaned out and filled with a biocompatible material. This gives your tooth some stability and ensures it doesn’t stay hollow.

Most likely, your root canal will be completed with a dental crown. The crown will seal off the tooth from more infection and also give you back the full function of that tooth. You won’t have to worry about biting into foods with it. A dental crown is customized to the size, shape, and shade of the rest of your teeth so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of your smile. It’s permanently bonded to the tooth, creating a restoration that’s meant to last.

Root Canals From Your Dentist in Washington, D.C.

A root canal helps to save your tooth and the restoration keeps your smile looking natural. If you think you may need a root canal, call us or schedule an appointment online.