Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Treatment by Dr. Morrissey at Boones Ferry Dental

Do you have a lot of pain in your tooth? It may be caused by an infection in the root. If so, Dr. Morrissey will likely recommend root canal therapy. Even if you aren’t sure exactly what root canals are, you probably think of them as something akin to torture.

What are root canal symptoms?

Dr. Morrissey looks for these kinds of symptoms:

  • if you have a tooth that has changed color and is grey, dark brown, or dark yellow;
  • if you have swollen and tender gums;
  • if you are in severe pain when you bite down on the tooth;
  • if you are extremely sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity remaining even when the hot or cold item is removed.

These kinds of symptoms are caused by an infection in the pulp of your tooth.

What is a root canal procedure?


Illustration showing a root canal procedure

In the innermost part of your teeth, there is a soft pulp. Within this pulp are blood vessels, roots, and nerves.

If you have a damaged tooth, bacteria can get into the pulp. This can happen if you have had an accident or an injury, if you have a cavity that is left unfilled or improperly cleaned and filled, or if your tooth is chipped or cracked. The bacteria starts to multiply.

If the infection isn’t taken care of by a dentist in Lake Oswego, OR, it can spread to the tooth roots, causing pain, sensitivity, and small pockets of pus, which can result in a painful abscess. An infection doesn’t just affect the tooth, however. It can cause pain, discomfort or swelling in the head, face, or neck to swell, and, worst case scenario.

Root canal therapy can prevent all of this. The procedure cleans out the infected pulp to stop the spread of infection.

How will my dentist perform my root canal?

A root canal can usually be done in one or two visits, but it may take as many as three, depending on the complexity of the case and the final restoration needed.

Dr. Morrissey will discuss with you the types of anesthetics available to make sure you’re comfortable during the procedure. There are different types of sedation. You may be able to take medication that puts you into a light sleep during the procedure, or you can take medicine that will simply make you feel relaxed.

The staff at Boones Ferry Dental can provide any information you need to take to your insurance company to find out if they will help cover the cost of sedation during a root canal.

Even if you don’t want to be sedated, Dr. Morrissey, will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. He will drill a small hole into the top of tooth. He will remove the diseased tissue in the inner chamber of the tooth, and then clean and disinfect the drilled out space. He will then fill the tooth with medication to prevent infection and a material called gutta percha. He may put a temporary filling on the tooth until a permanent crown can be made.

How much pain will there be?

Root canal treatments have a horrible reputation for being very painful. However, most people who have had them have reported that they don’t hurt much more than having a cavity filled, and many experience no pain at all. In fact, root canal treatment alleviates pain and sensitivity.

What are root canal alternatives?

The bad news is there are not many alternatives to having a root canal, because the infected tooth would otherwise need to be removed.

However, the good news is that a root canal is not as painful as you might think, and once it’s done you will be free of the pain of that infected tooth.

If you are experiencing pain or sensitivity in a tooth, don’t put off a visit to your Boones Ferry Dental in Lake Oswego, OR. Call us at (503) 699-6699 today!

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