Root Canals in Katy

root-canalRoot Canal Therapy 101

That twinge in your molar finally progressed into a full blown toothache. Upon examination, Dr. Colin Lathrop determined that the inner pulp of your tooth has become infected and will need to be treated via root canal therapy. Before you panic, you should learn the facts:

  • Even though root canals have a reputation for being unpleasant, this procedure is performed using local anesthetic which numbs the entire area. In addition, we can provide dental sedation if you feel particularly nervous or anxious about the procedure.
  • Root canal therapy can save your tooth. If left untreated much longer, deep decay will cause such extensive damage to the tooth that it will have to be extracted. Root canal therapy removes the infected inner portion of the tooth while preserving the hard, enamel exterior. Dental crowns are often used in conjunction with root canal treatment to reinforce the remaining tooth structure.
  • Dental infections cause a great deal of pain and discomfort because the infected inner core – called the pulp – is filled with nerves that have become inflamed and irritated. By removing the infected pulp, Dr. Lathrop is effectively removing the source of discomfort.

Dr. Lathrop performs most of the root canal treatments he recommends. However, in some cases, such as retreatment in cases where root canals has failed or when the natural structure of the roots qualifies the procedure as “complex,” Dr. Lathrop will refer you to a trusted root canal specialist, called an endodontist. We truly believe that our patients deserve the right treatment for their condition and if a specialist can better address your needs, we will gladly refer you.

What to Expect from the Procedure

At Lathrop Dental Center, we practice patient-centric dentistry. This means we want you to feel comfortable and well cared for throughout your visit. If you feel at all anxious or fearful about your root canal therapy, please let us know. We can provide different levels of dental sedation depending on your needs. Once you’ve relaxed in the treatment chair, Dr. Lathrop will numb the area and isolate the tooth using a flexible rubber dam. Next, he will remove the infected pulp tissue before thoroughly cleansing and disinfecting the canal. Once the canal had dried, he will fill it with gutta percha, a rubber-like substance that adds support to the tooth. Finally, he will place a restoration, most often an inlay, only, or full crown, to protect the tooth and return it to its optimal function.

Most patients report that the procedure site feels sore for a couple of days following root canal therapy. This is normal and any discomfort can be addressed with over-the-counter pain medication, such as Tylenol. Soreness will subside in a few days and your mouth will finally return to feeling normal and healthy. Be sure to practice excellent oral hygieine at home, including brushing after meals, flossing once every day, and minimizing your intake of sugary foods.

    A proactive approach to dentistry meets a compassionate approach to patient care.

    Ready to fall in love with your smile, but not sure where to start? Send us a photo or a question of your smile, and Dr. Lathrop will respond!