Tucson Endodontist

Root CanalsTucson, AZ

The purpose of therapy for root canals, also called endodontic therapy, is to treat an infection within a tooth. It can also prevent further infection of the tooth. The procedure occurs in the tooth's pulp, located in the root canal.

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The root canal procedure

The belief that getting a root canal is an unpleasant experience is unfounded. The term "root canal" refers to a structural feature of a tooth rather than a treatment procedure. The pulp is soft tissue within a tooth's root canal and includes the nerves, blood vessels, and other cells. The crown and roots make up a tooth as a whole. Roots lie below the gum line and anchor the tooth in the jaw, and the crown is located above the gum line.

The pulp is located inside the roots and the tooth's crown. It supplies nutrients to the tooth. Pulp nerves register both hot and cold temperatures as painful sensations.

Endodontic ("inside the tooth") treatment is the proper term for a root canal. However, a "root canal" is now the most popular way to refer to this treatment. There are three stages to the root canal treatment process, and it might take anywhere from one to three appointments to finish.

Root canal cleaning

The first step in root canal therapy is for the dentist to clean the canal. The patient gets a local anesthetic, and the dentist drills a tiny hole on the top of the tooth to access the affected pulp, which is then removed using minute files.

Root canal filling

The dentist uses microscopic files and irrigation treatments to clean, shape, and disinfect the hollow region. The root canals are then sealed with adhesive cement, and a rubber-like substance is used to fill the tooth. Once a tooth has had a root canal, it is clinically dead and desensitized. After the dentist clears the infection and removes the nerve tissue, the patient will no longer experience any pain from the affected tooth.

Adding a crown or filling

It is important to address the tooth's newfound fragility. Teeth without pulp are nourished by the ligament that anchors them to the jawbone. A crown or filling is useful because the tooth will otherwise become fragile without further reinforcement and may even break. The patient should avoid biting down on the tooth until the root canal process is complete. After a crown or filling has been placed, the tooth will function normally.

The average length of time needed to treat a patient is a single appointment, although one or two more visits might be necessary if the patient has a complex case involving multiple canals or a significant infection.

How painful is the root canal procedure?

Treatment by a skilled dentist should be relatively painless, despite the widespread belief that it is uncomfortable. The infection, not the treatment, is causing the discomfort. It is important to note that the therapy does not worsen pain, but rather works to relieve it.

The dentist will numb the tooth and the region around it to make the process more bearable. However, some soreness or sensitivity after therapy is to be expected. The discomfort is temporary, and over-the-counter pain relievers can be enough to get through it. In some cases, patients can get a prescription. Dentists also typically prescribe antibiotics for the treatment or prevention of infection.

The importance of a root canal procedure

When the tooth pulp becomes infected or is damaged, a root canal procedure may save the tooth from extraction. Pulp damage or infection results in tissue death because it cannot heal on its own. Bacteria may enter the pulp via a deep cavity, a broken tooth, or a loose filling.

The bacteria will damage the pulp over time. Infection in the bone may result from germs entering the root canals. The bone will weaken and eventually break down if an infection sets in. Due to swelling of the supporting ligaments, the tooth will become dislodged.

An injured pulp causes temperature sensitivity in the affected tooth. Some individuals have constant, throbbing agony, while others experience discomfort just during eating. The infection will rapidly spread without treatment. The tooth may eventually become loose and need extraction.

When a tooth is severely decayed, broken, or missing significant bone due to periodontal disease, a patient may choose to have it extracted rather than endure the pain of trying to save it. However, losing a tooth may cause other teeth to shift. This can cause misaligned teeth and may make eating a challenge. The dentist may determine that the tooth can be saved and the discomfort relieved with root canal treatment.

A dental implant is a good alternative to a tooth extraction if it is not possible to save the tooth. However, if at all feasible, it is preferable to preserve the original tooth, since an artificial tooth can never replace the performance of a healthy, real one.

The cost of root canal treatment

A root canal is one of the most cost-effective ways to save a tooth. The alternative is generally a more costly implant or bridge if the tooth is extracted. Misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion) and problems chewing food are other potential side effects of tooth extraction. Patients can discuss payment plans with the dentist during a consultation.

Risks of root canal treatment

As with any dental operation, complications are possible. For example, dentists may find only three root canals rather than four, and if one canal is left untreated, the infection might develop further into the bone.

The dentist must ensure that the filling material fully fills the canal before proceeding, as the infection may recur if the root canal is not sealed correctly. The root of the tooth might shatter or the canal could be perforated.

Patients can avoid any potential dental issues by strictly adhering to the dentist's orders. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it is advisable to finish the dosage. After root canal treatment is complete, a permanent restoration, such as a crown, must be affixed to the tooth.


Having a swollen jaw or hurting teeth is an unpleasant experience. You may get relief from an infected tooth with root canal treatment. Please contact the dentist immediately if you think that you have a tooth infection or abscess.

Request an appointment here: https://www.casasadobesdentistry.com or call Casas Adobes Dentistry at (520) 365-0559 for an appointment in our Tucson office.

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Casas Adobes Dentistry is located at 7520 N. Oracle Rd. Suite 200 Tucson, AZ 85704.

(520) 365-0559