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What is a Root Canal?

What is a Root Canal?


Every tooth in your mouth contains a nerve and blood vessels. Healthy tissues feed your tooth and keep it alive. But sometimes nerves become infected, abscessed, or die because of past trauma. Thankfully, root canal treatment (endodontic therapy) can help you avoid a dental extraction.

Root Canals Explained

Root canal therapy is required to treat any damage or infection inside dental nerve tissue , beyond what can be repaired with a filling or crown. Our dentist in Kearny Mesa will remove the damaged nerve tissue from your tooth then fill it to seal out new infection. Normally you’ll also need a crown over the tooth afterward.

Unlike fillings, endodontic therapy is a special kind of restoration that fills and treats the nerve chamber running the entire length of your tooth. It is always required if your tooth is dying or abscessed. Instead of having your tooth taken out, root canal treatment repairs it from the inside-out, allowing you to retain it for several more years.

When Root Canals are Recommended

You’ll almost always need a root canal if your tooth has experienced:

  • Severe hypersensitivity or pain
  • Large cavities extending into the nerve
  • Cracked roots
  • Traumatic injuries, even if years prior
  • Abscesses

Our dentist in Kearny Mesa will examine your tooth thoroughly and take a small X-ray to assess the root and surrounding area next to it. A root canal will be recommended if there are visible signs of decay touching the nerve, abscessing around the root, or other internal damage.

What Can You Expect During a Root Canal?

Is root canal treatment painful? Not at all. Root canals are gentler than you might think. Endodontic treatment can be as painless as routine fillings, crowns, and other dental work, despite what you may have heard. Thorough numbing medication and modern technology ensure a predictable procedure where you can feel at ease.

To ensure that there is no discomfort, the first thing we will do is numb your tooth.  If you feel discomfort during your visit, please let us know. We can always administer additional numbing medication if needed.

How long root canal treatment takes will depend on which tooth is being treated and how many roots there are. The further back the tooth is, the longer the procedure usually lasts. Normally we book you for about an hour and a half for the appointment.

Once your tooth is numb, we will create a small hole as an access point, to allow us to reach the nerve.  Next, we use special tools to remove the infected tissue. To prevent bacteria from entering the tooth or causing reinfection, the nerve canals must be sterilized and sealed off with a special filling material.

After root canal therapy, we recommend that you have a crown put over your tooth. A crown is a permanent “cap” that is cemented over your tooth. It protects non-vital teeth against damage from daily use. Otherwise, it might be prone to chipping or fractures.

How Much Does Root Canal Treatment Cost?

Even though a root canal will cost more than a filling or extraction, it can save you money in the future by preserving your natural tooth. Pricing is also dependent upon the tooth (and the number of nerve chambers) being treated. At Landmark Dental our insurance coordinators will work up a treatment plan that itemizes all of the fees and benefits expected so that you have an estimate of the pricing before scheduling your endodontic appointment.

Long-Term Care for Your Tooth

Although endodontically-treated teeth are no longer “alive” (since the nerves have been removed), you still need to take care of them every day. Tooth decay can still occur along the gumlines and edges of your crown. Periodontitis can also infect your gums and compromise the structures around your tooth. Thankfully you can keep your tooth intact for many years by flossing it daily, brushing twice a day, and keeping up with your regular checkups.

Request a Consultation

Are you in need of a root canal treatment? Call Landmark Dental in Kearny Mesa today for a consultation with our gentle family dentist team.



Landmark Dental Arts
4540 Kearny Villa Road, Suite 116
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: 858-571-3534
Fax: (858) 571-5826

Monday By Appointment Only
Tuesday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday By Appointment Only
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed