Root Canal Treatment

Dental Health and Root Canals

In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you would probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called root canal treatment, your tooth can be saved. Root canals are a relatively simple procedure involving one to three office visits. Best of all, having a root canal when necessary can save your tooth and your smile!

What is the purpose of a root canal?

A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only injure your jawbones, but it is detrimental to your overall health. Without the proper treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

Teeth that require root canal therapy are not always painful. However, signs you may need a root canal include severe toothache, pain upon chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or pain in response to hot and cold temperatures, a dark discoloration of the tooth, and swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor.

What happens during a root canal?

Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected tissue. Next, the interior of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth had extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breakage. As long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups, your restored tooth can last a lifetime.

  • “Dr. Bill is the best dentist ever! He is super nice and never makes my teeth hurt. He should really help all the kids when their teeth have booboos.”

    – Laci L. (5 years old)

  • “Dr. Whitley has always been honest, friendly and compassionate about what he does! He has on more than one occasion stayed after hours to help one of my family members out.”

    – Rick & Kelli L.

  • “Dr. Whitley and his staff quickly earned my trust. From the first moment I walked into their office, I was blessed with a sense of security and confidence that I would be well taken care of.”

    – Susan M.

  • “I just got my teeth cleaned by the most wonderful dentist ever! All the staff is super courteous and genuine.”

    – Luci L.

  • “We love the team at Whitley dental clinic! Dr. Whitley was my son Jake’s (6) first experience with a dentist, now he looks forward to going back each time.”

    – The Cullen Family