Oronoco Dental -  - General Dentistry

Oronoco Dental

General Dentistry & Cosmetic Dentistry located in Alexandria, VA

If the words “root canal therapy” make you nervous, don’t worry –– the procedure is not nearly as bad as movies and television shows make it out to be. Dr. Stella Kim at Oronoco Dental in Alexandria, Virginia provides gentle root canal therapy, giving you a more positive experience than what might be anticipated.

Root Canal Therapy Q & A

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a treatment used to restore an infected or damaged tooth by removing its pulp and nerves within the roots. The pulp is the soft tissue inside of your tooth composed of blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerve fibers.

Your pulp responds to extensive damage by becoming swollen and inflamed. This inflammation causes the pulp to pinch against the inside of your tooth, which can be incredibly painful and cause a variety of symptoms, including diffuse throbbing or exquisite temperature sensitivity.

This inflammation can cause degeneration of the pulp tissue leading to infection and a potential dental abscess. When Dr. Kim removes this damaged pulp tissue via root canal therapy and disinfects the inside of your tooth, this alleviates your pain and restores your oral health.

With root canal therapy, Dr. Kim can retain your tooth rather than extracting it.


When is root canal therapy necessary?

If you have infected or severely inflamed tooth pulp tissue, you need root canal therapy. Damaged or infected tooth pulp can produce any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe temperature sensitivity
  • Severe pain, either spontaneously or when biting down
  • Swollen, tender, or red gums
  • Small, pimple-like pocket of pus near your tooth root
  • Darkness or discoloration in your tooth

Sometimes, infected teeth may not demonstrate any pain or symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have your x-rays updated to monitor if your tooth is infected or not. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Kim immediately.


What do you do during root canal therapy?

When you receive root canal therapy, Dr. Kim uses a local anesthetic to numb your tooth, then isolates the tooth from the rest of your mouth with a rubber dental dam. She drills a hole in the top or back of your tooth, then removes your damaged or infected pulp with a series of endodontic files.

Next, she disinfects the inside of your tooth and fills it with a compound called gutta-percha, a material similar to natural rubber. Finally, she seals the hole in the top of your tooth with a dental filling. Dr. Kim may then fit you with a crown to restore your tooth’s structural integrity.


Does root canal therapy hurt?

Root canals have gained an undeserved reputation for being uncomfortable or painful. In reality, root canal therapy causes no more discomfort than a dental filling. Dr. Kim anesthetizes your tooth during your procedure, so you don’t feel any pain during your treatment.

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