Root Canals

At Los Gatos Family Dentistry, we offer root canals performed in a state-of-the-art facility. Although “root canal” has traditionally been synonymous with “something intensely painful and unpleasant,” it really doesn’t need to be! 

Root canal therapy is simply the treatment of an infection that occurs inside one or more of a tooth’s roots. Once we remove the infectious bacteria from deep within the tooth's roots, the infection is eliminated, and so is the pain.

Why We Need to Perform a Root Canal

Within the root of each tooth is a chamber that contains nerves and blood vessels; this is the life force of a tooth as it develops. When an infection takes hold, this material (called the pulp) gradually dies. This process may take years, throughout which the patient may experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms.      

Though the phrase “root canal” is often associated with immense pain, this treatment is the preferred method of removing infectious bacteria from deep within a tooth. It is the inflammation caused by an infection that leads to throbbing, persistent pain. Eliminating the infection and sealing the treated tooth is the only way to relieve pain, so that’s when we will recommend our root canals as a treatment option at our Los Gatos dental office.

The Root Canal Procedure

Contrary to widespread belief, root canal therapy is not a painful procedure to be avoided, but rather a necessary treatment that can help preserve your tooth and eliminate pain caused by an infection. In fact, this procedure is typically no more uncomfortable than a simple filling, and it may eliminate the need for extraction in the short-term.

During root canal procedures performed at our Los Gatos dental office, the infected pulp is removed, and the resultant cavity is cleaned and disinfected. The entire area is numb throughout this procedure, so you won’t feel a thing as Dr. Phan prepares your tooth to be filled. 

When we are sure we have removed the last remnants of infected tissue, we fill the area with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. To protect the tooth against future damage, Dr. Phan will then cover it with a custom dental crown.

How Long Does a Root Canal Procedure Take to Complete?

A root canal is performed when the endodontist removes the infected pulp and nerve in the root of the tooth, cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal. Afterward, your dentist will place a crown on the tooth to protect and restore it to its original function. Most endodontic (root canal) treatments take one to two appointments, depending on the procedure for each patient.

There are different types of root canal depending on your specific needs. For example, if tooth decay or another problem means that part of the crown must be removed first, you're looking at one to two additional appointments to remove the tooth's crown (cap) and another one to two appointments for the endodontic procedure.

Symptoms of a Root Canal Infection

While an examination with Dr. Phan is the only definitive way to diagnose a root canal infection, there are some obvious signs associated with this type of problem that you can keep in mind between dental visits. These root canal infection symptoms include:

  • Pain while chewing or when pressure is applied to the tooth
  • A recurring bump on the gums near the affected tooth
  • A change in the color of the tooth; it may take on a dull gray hue
  • Intense sensitivity to extreme temperatures
  • Gum tenderness or inflammation
  • Pain that radiates throughout the jaw        

While most cases of infection with a tooth do result in uncomfortable symptoms, it is important to remember that not all cases lead to noticeable signs of damage. This fact is why regular visits to Los Gatos Family Dentistry are integral to your continued oral health.

Using the latest in dental diagnostic technology, Dr. Phan can detect the presence of a potentially serious issue before the problem grows worse and puts your smile at risk.

Is It Better to Have a Root Canal or Tooth Pulled?

Root canals are used to save your natural teeth, so it is generally preferable to have them done instead of tooth extraction. A root canal is preferable to preserve your natural teeth over a tooth extraction because there are little to no future complications associated with the procedure.

With tooth extraction, you might face a bit of a longer recovery time and teeth adjacent to the extracted tooth might also drift out of alignment, causing problems with your bite. All of these are reasons why preserving your natural teeth are preferable whenever possible. If you are in need of a root canal or think you may need a root canal, please reach out to us for a consultation. When root canals are delayed, the procedure can lead to a more painful process than addressing the issue early on.

Do You Need Root Canal Therapy in Los Gatos?

If you have been told that you need root canal therapy or if you suspect that you might be suffering from a tooth root infection, we invite you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Phan. 

Our state-of-the-art dental practice proudly serves families from throughout Los Gatos, CA, and the communities of Saratoga, San Jose, Cupertino, Campbell, Sunnyvale, Monte Sereno, Los Altos, and beyond.