The term “root canal” actually refers to the natural cavity located at the center of a tooth. Inside of the root canal is soft tissue, or pulp, as well as the tooth’s nerve. Trauma to the tooth can allow bacteria or debris to enter the root canal and cause an infection. An infected root canal is very painful and often requires a procedure also called a root canal to remove the infected tissue and heal the tooth.

Doctors Maria Burmaster and Valerie Hemphill use root canal therapy as part of a conservative approach to preserve a patient’s natural tooth.

About the Root Canal Procedure

A root canal procedure may require more than one visit. A comprehensive exam and diagnostic x-rays will reveal infection in the tooth and surrounding area. A small access hole is drilled into the tooth and the diseased or infected tissue is removed. The inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and polished. In some cases, the root canal may be temporarily sealed to allow the infection to heal completely.

Once the infection is eliminated, the root canal is filled with gutta percha, a biocompatible rubber compound. A filling or dental crown will cover the tooth to add strength as well as protection from future damage.

Isn’t A Root Canal Painful?

Most people associate root canals with extreme pain. In fact, the root canal procedure is no more painful than having a dental filling. The pain and discomfort come from the actual infection, rather than the procedure. Patients who undergo root canal therapy experience significant relief after their treatment. Root canals have a success rate of 95% and allow people to preserve their natural teeth.

In some cases, a patients tooth is too damaged to rehabilitate with root canal therapy and a tooth extraction is required. Doctors Burmaster and Hemphill perform tooth extractions as well as provide services to replace the missing tooth, including dental implants, dental bridges and partial dentures.

If you are experiencing extreme toothache, have facial swelling, or fever, contact our office immediately for treatment, as you may have an abscessed tooth.

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