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No dental patient wants to hear the words “root canal.” The words summon up images of a long procedure, pain, and an uncomfortable recovery.

However a root canal is a a very effective way to keep your smile intact. In fact, teeth that might have required an extraction can be saved. A root canal becomes necessary when the pulp of your tooth becomes infected. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels for your tooth. Although the pulp is vital to keeping your tooth alive, the structure of your tooth can be preserved, even after the diseased pulp have been removed.

To perform a root canal, the dentist accesses the pulp with a small drill. The infected pulp is extracted and the root chamber is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to remove all of the pulp and neutralize any bacteria left in the root chamber. That chamber is then enlarged to allow the dentist to insert a material called gutta percha, which will take the place of the pulp in the chamber. The dentist will place a temporary seal on your tooth. During a later appointment, the dentist will check on the root canal and place a crown on the affected tooth.

After to root canal procedure, your dentist may give you a prescription for a pain-reliever or an antibiotic. You can also use a cold compress to alleviate any pain. However, if the pain is persistent, or you start to experience a fever, nausea or vomiting, the chills or shaking, contact the dentist immediately.

Signs that you may need a root canal include pain, swelling, and sensitivity to heat and cold. If you have any of the symptoms of an infected tooth, or if it just time for your regular cleaning and exam, our dentist, Dr. Jee Lee will be happy to see you. If you live in the Anaheim, California area. Call 714-635-5500 today for an appointment.