What Is a Root Canal and Why Do I Need One?

When teeth are severely infected or decayed, there are only two options: your dentist will either have them extracted or perform root canals in Raleigh to save them. In America, over 15 million root canals are done yearly. That’s about 41,000 root canals daily. Endodontists report performing an average of 25 treatments per week. Root canal therapy is a procedure done to save a badly infected tooth. How can this procedure save your tooth? 

female patient undergoing root canals in Raleigh

Do You Need a Root Canal? 

What Is a Root Canal? 

A root canal is recommended for patients with an infected or decayed dental pulp. Your tooth is covered by a strong and protective layer called enamel. The layer underneath it is called the dentin. Inside the dentin is a softer core that extends into the roots. This is your dental pulp. It consists of blood vessels, nerves, and tissues. 

When the decay or infection has reached the dental pulp, your dentist will have no choice but to perform root canal therapy. In this procedure, the decayed pulp is extracted, the empty chamber is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with antibiotics, and the area is filled and sealed to protect your tooth against future decay. 

Unfortunately, root canal therapy has gotten a bad rap because people assume the procedure will cause intense pain. On the contrary, it will help relieve the discomfort. Patients describe the process as similar to getting a dental filling. 

How Do You Know If You Need One? 

What are the signs that you need root canal therapy? Root canals are recommended for patients with a cracked tooth due to genetics or injury, problems from previous fillings, or a deep and severe cavity. Patients who experience tooth sensitivity may also need root canal therapy. Some of the telltale signs that you need a root canal are the following: 

  • A chip in your tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Severe pain when biting or chewing
  • Pimples on your gums
  • Darkening of gums due to decay
  • Tender gums
  • Swollen gum tissues
  • Tooth sensitivity

Why Do You Need to Remove an Infected Dental Pulp? 

What happens if you leave an infected dental pulp untreated? When the dental pulp is damaged, it will slowly break down, and the bacteria within it will continue to thrive and multiply within your tooth’s chamber. 

Over time, the infection will result in a tooth abscess. A tooth abscess is a pocket filled with pus that forms at the end of your tooth root. Besides getting a tooth abscess, the infection can spread to other areas of your body, such as your head, face, and neck. It’s also possible to experience bone loss around your tooth roots.  

How Is It Done? 

The best person to perform the procedure is an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist specializing in diagnosing and treating dental pulp diseases. The procedure starts with an X-ray. Your endodontist will order an X-ray to get a clearer view of your root canals and confirm if an infection is present. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area near your tooth to keep you comfortable and relaxed during the treatment. 

To keep your saliva out of the infected tooth, your endodontist will place a rubber dam around it. Next, a hole is drilled to access the pulp. The bacteria and decayed pulp within the chamber are removed through the hole. 

The area is cleaned and disinfected using root canal files. The sides of the chamber are carefully scraped to ensure that the site is free from bacteria. Once all the decayed parts are removed, sodium hypochlorite is sprayed to flush away all remaining debris. 

When the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, your dentist will give it a few days before sealing it. There are certain cases where your endodontist will place an antibacterial medication inside your tooth to stop the infection. If it’s impossible to complete the procedure within the day, your endodontist may give you a temporary filling to keep food and saliva out of the tooth between appointments. 

During your next appointment, the interior of your tooth is filled with gutta-percha and then sealed to close the hole. Finally, your endodontist will assess your tooth and determine if further restorations are needed. 

What Is Recovery Like? 

After a successful root canal therapy, you can expect your mouth to feel numb after a few hours. Most patients can immediately return to work and resume their daily activities after the procedure. However, dentists recommend you wait until the effect of the anesthesia wanes off before eating. 

During the first few days, your tooth may still feel sensitive. You can minimize the discomfort by taking over-the-counter pain medications. While you’re still waiting for your permanent filling, it’s best to avoid chewing on your affected tooth to keep it from breaking. To protect the rest of your teeth from damage, dentists advise that you brush, floss and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash daily. Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist for teeth cleanings. 

root canals in Raleigh performed on male patient

Interested in Root Canals in Raleigh? 

Root canals have a success rate of 95%. When your endodontist recommends a root canal, all we can say is go for it. It’s better to save your tooth than to lose it. At Tyron Family Dentistry, we offer preventive and restorative dental treatments to help improve your oral health. Contact us today for an appointment. 

“Thanks to our awesome patient Cheryl for taking the time to talk about us and our services. We are so glad to have you as a patient!”
- Cheryl
“Staff is amazing. So gentle but very knowledgeable. Great experiences so far with cleanings and filling replacement.”
- Trish M.
“Had another wonderful experience at Tryon Family Dentistry today! I felt safe during this pandemic due to the constant cleaning/disinfecting I observed. Everyone there goes out of their way to ensure your comfort and address any/all questions you may have.”
- Leslie Meilhon
“Love this place – I can’t recommend Tryon Family Dentistry enough! I’ve been coming to them for about 3 years and I’ve never even considered going anywhere else. The office is nice and the people are great.”
- Molly Katolas
“Excellent and knowledgeable staff! The doctors are the best and understood my unique TMD challenges. Because of this, my bite was corrected and I no longer have pain. Wonderful!”
- Donna Pygott
“Another of our favorite patients, Jane, took the time to speak about our service and what it means to her. We truly do have the best patients and we very much appreciate each and every one of them.”
- Jane
Scroll to Top
Raleigh, NC Location
3421 Olympia Drive
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27603
Contact This Office
Office Hours:
Cary, NC Location
270 Cornerstone Drive
Suite 106
Cary, NC 27519
Contact This Office
Office Hours:
Zebulon, NC Location
208 N Arendell Ave
Zebulon, NC 27597
Contact This Office
Office Hours:
Securely refer patients with our web based platform.