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Root Canal Therapy in Spokane Valley

We’re willing to bet that almost all you’ve heard about a root canal is either false or at best slightly exaggerated. In truth, a root canal is meant to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth—pain that can be severe—prevent the spread of infection and help you avoid the need for tooth extraction. Furthermore, root canal therapy in Spokane Valley is not at all painful itself! Let’s examine the details of a root canal and understand how this common dental procedure can be the key to pain relief and a healthy smile.

Your Healthy Tooth

Nature built your teeth like small fortresses. The outside layer, called enamel, is the hardest substance in the body. Next is dentin, the middle layer that is somewhat softer and made of tiny tubules. At the core of each tooth is the pulp chamber and attached root canals, which contain nerve, lymph and blood tissue. Obviously, this area is normally well protected. However, microscopic bacteria in your mouth can breach the layers of protection and enter the pulp chamber and root canals if a tooth is severely decayed or otherwise damaged. Then, infection begins and the first sign is usually terrible pain.

Other symptoms of an infected tooth include:

  • Severe tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Shooting pain when you bite down on the tooth
  • Facial swelling near the tooth
  • A pimple like sore on your gums near the infected tooth

You may also notice a liquid discharge between the tooth and surrounding gum tissue. Any of these are signs that you probably need a root canal. Contact Spokane Family Smiles right away so Dr. Shumway can provide the dental care you need to restore oral health and preserve your tooth.

Root Canal Step-by-Step

During root canal therapy in Spokane Valley, Dr. Shumway removes all traces of infection as well as the nerve, lymph and blood tissue inside your tooth. Fortunately, your tooth doesn’t need this tissue in order to function.

After the tooth and surrounding tissue are anesthetized, Dr. Shumway drills a small hole through the surface of the tooth and uses small file-like instruments to remove infection, debris and tissue. The area is then disinfected and filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This substance expands to fill the chamber and root canals, so the remaining tooth structure is supported and bacterial recontamination is prevented. Finally, the tooth is sealed and prepared for the porcelain crown that you’ll receive in a couple of weeks.

It’s normal to feel some discomfort after root canal therapy. However, most patients need nothing more than a few doses of an over-the-counter pain reliever. Depending on the severity of infection, Dr. Shumway may prescribe an oral antibiotic.