Endodontic Therapy – Root Canal

Endodontic Therapy – Root Canal

root canal

If you have watched any variety of comedy shows, it does not take long to see how a dental appointment is routinely viewed. It is unfortunate that many people have a negative connotation with the dental field, and especially with root canals. However, understanding endodontic Therapy (i.e., Root Canals) can help you change your perception of the dentist, and you may even start to look forward to your appointments with Castro Valley Dentistry.

What is Endodontic Therapy?

Endodontic Therapy is commonly referred to as a root canal. As previously discussed, many patients often feel pretty poorly about the prospect of a root canal. However, most patients who need a root canal are actually relieved when they can have their procedure completed. Root canals are necessary for patients who have experienced an infection inside a tooth.

The tooth is made of a few different layers. The hard-outer surface is called the enamel. Just under the enamel lies the dentin, which is the bony structure that gives the tooth its shape. Inside of the dentin is the pulp of the tooth. The tooth is a blood-rich environment that also houses the nerves for the tooth. Infections that occur within the pulp of the tooth can cause this tissue to swell. Once the tissue has started to swell, it ends up placing extreme pressure on the nerve within the tooth. The pressure causes the nerve to react by sending out painful stimuli as a cry for help. Unfortunately, the pain can be extremely uncomfortable and can cause issues eating, drinking, and even sleeping.

Endodontic Therapy specifically targets the infection that is causing the swelling. In order to remove the infection, the dentist typically cleans out any damaged tissue or bacteria at the point of entry (often a cavity) to the tooth. The pulp is then cleaned out, and the canals of the tooth are disinfected.

This process generally kills and removes the nerve that is inside of the tooth as well, but this actually stops the painful stimulus the tooth has been sending. Once our staff is sure that we have removed all of the infection and bacteria, the inside of the tooth is filled with a special material that seals the tooth and helps to prevent future infections.

Even though the tooth has been sealed, the external portion of the tooth also has to be sealed to ensure that infection cannot get to the interior part of the tooth again. This can be done by the use of a core build-up, a bonded post, or a dental crown. These options help to restore the function of the tooth without having to remove the tooth or the roots.

Whenever possible, our dental offices prefer to leave the natural tooth in place. Leaving the roots of the tooth intact helps to maintain the bone structure that is currently in place by stopping resorption, and helps to keep neighboring teeth in place too. When permanent teeth have to be removed, the other teeth often have a tendency to change their location by shifting, twisting, or angling toward the newly formed gap.


Once the root canal is complete, the most excruciating pain is over. It generally takes a few days for the pain of the infected tooth and the root canal to completely reside, but you should notice an improvement. If the tooth has a temporary crown while you wait for the permanent one to be created, it is important to follow our instructions to keep your tooth clean and infection-free.


If you have recently been told that you need a root canal to fix a damaged tooth contact Castro Valley Dentistry in Castro Valley, CA today to see what our professional and experienced staff can do for you (510) 674-0900.

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