When a cavity gets too big, the nerve inside the tooth will get infected. This can cause spontaneous pain and lead to an abscess and swelling. The solution is to have a root canal (endodontic) procedure performed. This procedure is very similar to having a filling, it’s just deeper. Dr. Roth uses advanced endodontic instruments to ensure that the root canal is completely cleaned and sealed so that the infected area surrounding the tooth can heal. Once the tooth and surrounding tissues has stabilized, the tooth can be restored so that normal function and eating can resume.

Dentists who specialize in root canals are called Endodontists. Some teeth, usually molars, are extremely difficult to perform root canals on. Endodontists have specialized training and equipment to make the difficult cases successful. Some of the equipment they use include microscopes (for finding tiny canals that can be missed) and 3-D imaging radiography (x-rays to precisely evaluate the curves of the roots that some teeth have). If a root canal is required, Dr. Roth will either perform the root canal or refer the patient to a qualified endodontist for treatment.

The symptoms of an infected nerve requiring a root canal include:

  • Spontaneous pain
  • Pain when biting down or chewing food
  • Lingering pain for over 30 seconds to cold or hot temperatures
  • Swelling or pain in the tissues surrounding the tooth
  • Drainage that has a bad taste near the tooth

If you are having one or more of the above symptoms, call Dr. Roth’s office right away. Dr. Roth will perform special tests to determine which tooth is causing the problem and take the appropriate actions to get the pain resolved.

Please note, that many people have the misconception that root canals are painful. Dr. Roth takes additional steps to ensure that the tooth and surrounding tissues are fully anesthetized (numbed) prior to treatment. A properly performed root canal should be virtually painless!