John S.K. Hsu D.D.S. and Virginia J. Chin D.D.S., P.C.
General Dentists located in Fairfax, VA
A root canal is a restorative procedure used to treat tooth decay. The process can save your natural tooth and also prevent additional pain or discomfort. For those who have been living with tooth pain for some time, a root canal can be a welcome relief. If you live in the Fairfax, Virginia area and suffer from tooth pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hsu and the team at your earliest convenience. John S.K. Hsu D.D.S. and Virginia J. Chin D.D.S., P.C. offers online scheduling, which makes it easy to find an appointment time that meets your busy schedule.
Root Canal Q & A
What exactly is a root canal?
It helps to understand how your teeth are structured and how decay takes place. Your enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth and acts as a strong shield. When decay eats away at your enamel, it can enter your dentin, which is the next layer of tissue.
Dentin is also a hard substance, but the layer that lies directly underneath is a softer tissue known as pulp. Your pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves, and also provides nourishment to your tooth.
When your pulp becomes inflamed by advanced decay, multiple dental procedures, or trauma, you may feel moderate to severe tooth pain. At this point, the nerves in your tooth begin to die, and it is impossible to reverse the decay. A root canal is the only way to save your remaining tooth tissue.
How is a root canal performed?
Dental technology and procedures have come a long way in recent decades, and a root canal is no longer something to dread. Dr. Hsu administers an anesthetic to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the procedure.
Once your mouth is numb, Dr. Hsu carefully removes the infected pulp, nerve tissue, and debris from the inner portion of your tooth. A series of special dental files are used to clean the inside walls of the tooth and remove every trace of infection.
Next, a filler substance called gutta-percha is packed into the cleaned chamber of your tooth and acts as a protective barrier against any further contamination. The next step is installing a custom crafted dental crown to protect and strengthen the tooth.
How do I care for a tooth that has had a root canal?
The most important thing to remember is that your tooth is incredibly vulnerable to damage after Dr. Hsu removes the pulp and nerves. You should take extreme care before the new crown is installed to avoid any trauma to the tooth.
Once Dr. Hsu cements your new crown into place, the restoration is complete. You can then use the repaired tooth the same way as your natural teeth. You may be asked to return to the office for a quick follow-up visit to ensure that your gums are healing correctly.
If you are concerned about persistent tooth pain, come to John S.K. Hsu D.D.S. and Virginia J. Chin D.D.S., P.C. to see if a root canal is the right course of action.