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Root Canal Therapy

Do you have a tooth ache? Are your teeth sensitive to hot or cold? Does the discomfort worsen at night? Any of these symptoms are a potential indications of nerve damage in your tooth. The nerve space inside a tooth can provide a nice cozy cave-like location for bacteria to persist because it’s a place where your body’s defense mechanisms can’t get at them effectively.

With this scenario, at best your body will only be able to ward off the infection caused by the bacteria living inside your tooth. At worst, this bacterial infection will overwhelm your body’s defense mechanisms and pain and swelling will develop. If this condition is neglected it can cause a large abscess, which can in-turn lead to very severe consequences such as jaw bone destruction, airway construction, sinus infection, etc.

In a nutshell, the process of root canal treatment first removes the bacteria, nerve tissue, and bacterial toxins from within the inner aspects of a tooth. Subsequently, once this space has been cleansed the second half of root canal treatment involves filling in and sealing up the interior of the tooth. This aspect of the treatment is an attempt to minimize the possibility that bacteria will be able to re-colonize the inner aspects of the tooth.

Learn about the Root Canal Therapy provided at Zak Dental offices in Agoura Hills, Covina/San Dimas, Downey, Long Beach, North Park, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Simi Valley, Temecula, Valencia, Ventura, and Whittier/La Mirada.

Root Canal Therapy FAQ


What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental procedure used to treat infection or damage deep within the tooth’s pulp, which houses the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels.

Why is root canal therapy needed?

Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp inside the tooth becomes infected or inflamed due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the tooth.

What are the signs that I might need root canal therapy?

Common signs that you might need root canal therapy include severe tooth pain, sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums, a pimple-like bump on the gums, or discoloration of the tooth.

How is root canal therapy performed?

During a root canal procedure, the dentist or endodontist will numb the tooth and surrounding area with local anesthesia. They will then create an opening in the tooth to access the infected or damaged pulp, remove the diseased tissue, clean and disinfect the root canals, and then fill and seal the tooth to prevent further infection.

Is root canal therapy painful?

With modern techniques and anesthesia, root canal therapy is typically no more painful than getting a dental filling. Most patients report feeling only mild discomfort during the procedure, and any discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

How long does root canal therapy take?

The length of a root canal procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the number of canals in the tooth. On average, a root canal treatment can be completed in one to two visits, each lasting about 60 to 90 minutes.

What happens after root canal therapy?

After root canal therapy, the tooth may feel sensitive for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication. You may also need to schedule a follow-up appointment for a permanent restoration, such as a dental crown, to protect and strengthen the tooth.

Is root canal therapy always successful?

In most cases, root canal therapy is successful at saving the tooth and relieving pain. However, there is a small risk of complications, such as persistent infection or a fractured tooth. Your dentist or endodontist will discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with you before treatment.

How can I prevent the need for root canal therapy?

Practicing good oral hygiene, including regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups, can help prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of needing root canal therapy. Additionally, wearing a mouthguard during sports and avoiding chewing on hard objects can help prevent dental injuries that may lead to the need for root canal treatment.


If you suspect you may need root canal therapy or have any questions about the procedure, it’s essential to consult with a dentist or endodontist for an evaluation and personalized recommendations.

Root Canal Therapy

Can Root Canal Therapy help relieve my dental pain, and what exactly does the treatment involve?


Teeth that are deeply cracked, heavily restored, or severely decayed may develop inflammation and infection. Root canal treatment may be necessary to save them.

Infectious microorganisms usually enter the tooth through a leaky dental restoration, such as a crown or large filling, a fissure, tooth decay, or, occasionally, through an exposed tooth root. Once in the jawbone, these microorganisms can cause swelling and significant discomfort.
Root canal therapy removes the microorganisms and seals the tooth against future bacterial invasion.

A rubber safety dam is placed. A high-speed dental handpiece is used to gain access to the tooth for the instruments used to treat the infection.

To clean, shape, and enlarge the hollow root canals where microorganisms have settled, a series of specialized instruments are used.

Disinfectant solutions are used to flush out the micro-organisms and to lubricate the shaping instruments. The goal is to remove all of the infected tooth structure and to widen the canals to such an extent that the root canal filling materials can be easily placed in the canals.

Once the root canals have been shaped and completely irrigated, absorbent paper points are used to dry the canals.

The root canals are filled with rubber points. The points are coated with sealing cement for a hermetic seal. Rubber points are packed into root canals and melted.

Sometimes, if needed to strengthen the core of the tooth, the dentist will enlarge one or more of the sealed canals to make room for the placement of structural posts. The posts typically extend to within five millimeters of the root tips of the root, which are now sealed. The tooth access hole is filled and the posts are cemented into the canal.

Internal Bleaching

What is internal bleaching and how does it work?


Teeth with nonviable or “necrotic” pulp tissue following trauma or dental disease are often noticeably darkened by pigments that saturate the dentin layer of the tooth and are visible through the translucent enamel of the crown. This is cosmetically unappealing to many people.

Of greater concern is the fact that the hollow interior of the tooth no longer contains any living cells, is open to the inside of the body, and will often become infected at some point.
To keep infectious organisms out, such teeth are usually treated with endodontic or “root canal” therapy.

After that, it is common to whiten the inside of the crown to a more normal shade.
The process involves cleaning, enlarging, and filling the root canals with a rubbery orange material called gutta-percha. The root canal fillings are then covered with a sealant. The sealant prevents bleach from seeping past the root canal fillings. A bleach-soaked cotton pellet is inserted into the crown’s hollow pulp chamber, and the tooth cavity is filled with a temporary filling. Over a period of days, the bleaching solution whitens the dentin layer of the tooth back to its normal shade. The cotton pellet is removed and a permanent filling is applied when the process is complete.

For teeth that are visible in the smile, toward the front of the mouth, internal bleaching is much more common. Often these teeth do not have a need for a crown after root canal treatment has been completed.

Molar teeth often require a crown after root canal treatment to prevent them from fracturing. If this is the case, they usually won’t be bleached because the crown can be made as light as it needs to be in the lab.