What Is A Root Canal, And Can It Help You?

by Dr. Vareldzis


Have you ever heard anyone bemoaning the fact that they need a root canal? Or maybe you heard a horror story about someone who’s uncle or cousin had a bad experience with a root canal?

We want you do know something. Technically, we all have root canals. We all need root canals.

However, not all of us will need a root canal treatment, but if you do, it’s probably won’t be as bad as you might think. That’s especially true if you come to Hillcrest Family Dentistry in Medford, OR.

Today we will explain what a root canal is … and what a root canal treatment is, along with why you might need one.

What Is A Root Canal?

Most people use root canal as a shorthand way of saying root canal treatment or root canal procedure. In actuality, a root canal is an anatomical feature of every tooth in your mouth.

You already know that every tooth is divided into two parts. The crown is the part you can see when you open your mouth. The root is the part hidden behind your gums. It serves as an anchor to hold your teeth in your jawbone.

If you have heard of the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal, then you have an idea what a canal is. It’s an opening that allows things to move from one place to another.

Root canals are openings in the roots of your teeth. This is where nerves and blood vessels enter your teeth. The root canals also contain pulp, which is a soft connective tissue in the center of your teeth. Much of the pulp is housed in the pulp chamber.

What Is A Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal treatment is a procedure to remove an infection from the inside of your tooth. This is considered part of restorative dentistry.

These kinds of infections happen when bacteria reaches the innermost parts of your tooth, specifically the pulp chamber or the root canal.

When bacteria attacks the pulp, that tissue can become infected and inflamed. This also means there’s an opening in the tooth that has exposed your nerves.

This is why pain is a common symptom of an infected tooth. This can be a result of the inflammation itself. It also can spike when that tooth is exposed to heat or cold.

Since the pain can come and go, people may think the problem has gone away. In truth, you may be letting the infection do more to weaken your tooth.

Try to remember that if one or more of your teeth are causing you pain, then it’s a good idea to call your dentist for help.

If you do have an infected tooth, here’s what will happen.

The first step will be to numb your tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. As an alternative, we can use dental sedation as well. With sedation dentistry, you can inhale nitrous oxide or take oral medication. Both will provide analgesic effects.

Whichever option you choose, our goal is to prevent you from feeling any pain during the procedure.

After you are numbed or sedated, Dr. Vareldzis will create an opening in your tooth. This will allow him to remove the infected pulp along with the nerves and blood vessels in your tooth. We use a combination of traditional tools and dental lasers to clean and sanitize the inside of your tooth.

The next step is to fill the tooth with a special material to reduce your risk of a new infection. It also helps your tooth maintain its shape. We seal the tooth with a dental filling or a dental crown to restore its function and your smile.

How Can You Prevent An Infected Tooth?

Root canal treatments are safe and effective, but it’s still better if your tooth never becomes infected.

The best way to do that is through preventive care. This means brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing between your teeth every day, and visiting Hillcrest Family Dentistry for routine cleanings a few times each year.

If you do develop a cavity or gum disease, you should treat either as soon as possible. Letting them continue can lead to the kind of infections that require root canal treatments.

Make An Appointment Today

If you are experiencing a toothache or increased tooth sensitivity, make an appointment at our dentist office in Medford, OR, today.

Even if you are feeling fine, now would be a good time to schedule a cleaning and examination if you haven’t had one in the past six months. You can reach us online or by calling 541-930-8036.