Each year, dentists perform more than 14 million root canal procedures to treat oral disease and save natural teeth. At Houston Precise Dental Care in Houston, Joe Eckford Jr., DDS provides nonsurgical root canals that improve the health of your teeth. Call the practice today or schedule an appointment online to learn more.

Root Canals Q & A

What is a root canal?

A root canal — also called endodontic treatment — is a procedure to remove infected tissue (pulp) at the center of your teeth. Left untreated, this infected tissue can severely damage your tooth or tooth root, causing the tooth to fall out. If the infection enters your bloodstream, it could even cause problems elsewhere in your body.

Infections may be caused by tooth decay, cracks in your teeth or an injury to the tooth. You may have an infection if you show symptoms like:

  • Swelling in your tooth
  • Pain in your tooth or gums
  • Sensitivity to temperature in the tooth

If you have these symptoms, you should always see your dentist.

What are the benefits of a root canal?

Root canals have many benefits for your oral health, including:

  • Relief of pain and sensitivity caused by infection
  • Prevention of tooth loss or further tooth decay
  • Less expensive care than tooth extraction and replacement with an artificial tooth

Though many people dread discomfort caused by a root canal, this discomfort is temporary and far less than the long-running stereotype of pain. A root canal provides a long-term solution to help you keep your natural teeth.

How is a root canal performed?

During a root canal, Dr. Eckford begins by numbing the area around the infected tooth. He may also provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to keep you relaxed during the procedure.

Once you’re numbed, he makes a small opening in the top of your tooth. Using specialized instruments, he removes the infected tissue and disinfects the area around the pulp.

Dr. Eckford then fills the chamber will a biodegradable material called gutta-percha. This material closes off the root canal. He then places a temporary filling to help protect the tooth. However, you should not chew or bite with the affected tooth until after the next step of treatment.

After your surgery, you will need to return to Dr. Eckford to get a permanent porcelain crown cemented to your tooth. The crown looks and feels like your natural teeth. You will be able to chew as usual after the crown is placed.

Early intervention can save you from losing your tooth. Contact Houston Precise Dental Care today by phone or schedule an appointment online to learn how a root canal can help you.