Root Canal Therapy

Saving Your Natural Tooth & Restoring Your Oral Health

Most patients hear the words “root canal” and immediately panic because all they’ve heard about the procedure is that it’s painful. Despite it’s daunting reputation, this procedure can save your natural smile and take away your pain. If you have unbearable oral pain that’s keeping you up at night and won’t seem to go away, it’s likely the cause of a damaging infection that’s located deep beneath the surface of your enamel. At Cerritos Southcoast Dental, we use the latest tools and technology to make the root canal process as pain-free as possible, so our patients have no need to feel scared or anxious. Plus, many patients who get root canal therapy in Cerritos are able to keep their natural treated teeth for the rest of their lives.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

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Root canals are more common than many patients expect. This treatment has allowed our team to save countless patients’ natural teeth and restore the function and look of their smiles. We do everything in our power to save home-grown pearly whites because once they’re extracted, they’re gone forever. That’s why we typically recommend root canal therapy in Cerritos for patients who have an infected tooth caused by dental trauma or severe decay. When these issues aren’t addressed in a timely manner, it can cause the pain to get worse, infection to spread, or patients to need tooth extractions.

Root canals remove the infected inner portion of your tooth called the pulp. We will sanitize your tooth, restore the shape of it with composite resin, and protect it from further damage by topping it off with a protective dental crown.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal

model of the inside of a tooth

The most common sign that we see when a patient needs a root canal is that they have a severe toothache. This pain is often so intense that it can wake you up at night or even distract you from work and school. It’s a tell-tale symptom that your tooth’s pulp is infected. Some other symptoms you can look out for include:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
  • Pain when you bite down or chew.
  • Swollen or red gums near your damaged tooth.
  • A pimple-like bump on the gums near your damaged tooth.

If you notice any of these common symptoms of infection, be sure to contact our office immediately. We’ll work quickly to restore your oral health, save your tooth, and ease your intense pain. The longer you wait to treat the problem, the higher the chances are that you’ll lose your tooth, which can result in more costly and invasive dental procedures.

The Root Canal Procedure

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At Cerritos Southcoast Dental, one of our top priorities is our patients’ comfort. When you visit our office to get a root canal, we’ll make sure you’re well taken care of and examine your affected tooth using our advanced technology. This way, we can develop a customized and precise treatment plan to quickly ease your pain.

We’ll begin the procedure by numbing your mouth using local anesthetic so you can’t feel a thing during your root canal. Using small tools, we’ll make an access point in your tooth so we can reach the infected pulp. After removing it, we’ll sanitize the area and clear out any loose debris. Once all harmful bacteria and particles are removed, we’ll fill and seal off your tooth using composite resin. To prevent future problems from arising and restore the strength of your tooth, we’ll also place customized dental crown atop your tooth.

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait to contact our office. The earlier we’re able to treat the problem, the less likely it will be that you’ll need invasive or restorative dental care.

Root Canal FAQs

root canal

At Cerritos Southcoast Dental, we never want to go through with a treatment until you’re as educated about it as possible. That’s why we have assembled some of the questions that we get asked most frequently about root canals and answered them below for your benefit. If you have a root canal question that you don’t see answered here, feel free to contact us and ask.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

Although root canals have a scary reputation of being a painful procedure, that is simply not true. The pain that is commonly associated with root canals typically comes from the toothache before the procedure even begins. In fact, root canal therapy is one of the best ways to cure a toothache, since it entails removing the nerve from the tooth. One of our dentists will be sure to apply plenty of local anesthetic to your affected tooth before the root canal starts so that you won’t feel a thing during the procedure. However, after the anesthesia has worn off, you can expect some soreness to follow. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen.

Are Root Canals Expensive?

Before we begin your treatment, our team will work with your insurance company to help you understand the cost of your procedure. We’ll also maximize your benefits so that you won’t need to pay a cent more than what is absolutely necessary. The cost of treatment will depend on a few factors, such as the type of tooth we’re treating and whether you’ll be undergoing sedation. It’s important to remember that even though root canals might seem costly up front, it’s much cheaper than extracting the tooth and replacing it with a bridge, denture, or dental implant. More often than not, teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy go on to last the rest of a patient’s life.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

Much like the cost of a root canal, the time needed for the procedure depends on which kind of tooth we’re treating. A good rule of thumb is that treatment will take longer the further back in the mouth you go. This is because your molars have more canals that need to be cleaned out than your front teeth do. In general, you can expect your root canal to last between one and two hours. However, you should expect to also set up a second appointment after your procedure to receive your restoration, like a crown or filling.

I’m Not in Pain – Why Do I Need a Root Canal?

A toothache might be the most common sign that a root canal is needed, but it’s far from the only symptom. In some cases, a patient might be completely unaware that there is anything wrong with their tooth. This occurs when a tooth has “died,” meaning there are is no longer any blood flow to the tooth, and it doesn’t send pain signals to the brain anymore. As a result, you don’t feel anything in this tooth. Even if you aren’t feeling any pain, a dead tooth can cause infection in the mouth that could spread to other areas of the body if left untreated. If your tooth or its surrounding gum tissue is discolored, that might be a sign that your tooth is dead, and you need a root canal.

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