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Root Canals
Dentist Vancouver, WA


Model of a healthy tooth at Alder Dental in Vancouver, WA. There are many valuable types of dental treatment, and a root canal is one of them. A root canal is probably one of the most advanced dental treatments. It offers a solution for individuals who suffer from severe infection in their tooth pulp. It helps stop the further spread of infection and reduces pain and sensitivity. Our dentist understands how important it is to perform root canals on time to prevent further problems. For this reason, our experts at Alder Dental are readily available to consider your condition and perform a root canal if necessary.

What Is a Root Canal?


A root canal is a procedure that dentists use to remove inflamed or infected tooth pulp. The pulp area is then cleaned and disinfected before being filled and sealed. The purpose of root canal treatment is to remove bacteria from the infected root canal to prevent further infection complications.

Understanding Root Canal Treatment


The term root canal refers to a part of the tooth, not a treatment itself. It is the hollow area inside a tooth containing nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells, also known as the pulp. This pulp nourishes the tooth and provides moisture to the surrounding material. Nerves in the pulp sense hot and cold temperatures as pain. Modern root canal treatments differ greatly from traditional beliefs. Today, a root canal is similar to a standard filling and can be finished in one or two appointments. However, the duration will depend on the condition of the tooth and individual circumstances.

The Root Canal Procedure: Step by Step


Root canal therapy consists of three main steps and usually requires one to three sessions to complete. Below are the three steps you must undergo for a root canal.

Cleaning the Root Canal

The first step of treatment is cleaning. During this phase, the dentist removes all contents from inside the root canal. Under local anesthesia, a small access hole is created on the tooth surface, and the damaged or dead pulp tissue is removed. This step normally takes place in the first session. You may proceed to the next step right away, or you may be required to take a break and come back later.

Model of a tooth needing a root canal at Alder Dental in Vancouver, WA.

Filling the Root Canal

After cleaning, our dentist shapes and disinfects the hollow area using small files and special solutions. Then, a rubber-like material is used to fill the tooth, ensuring complete sealing of the canals with adhesive cement. After root canal treatment, the tooth becomes non-vital, meaning the patient no longer experiences pain in that tooth as the nerve tissue is removed and the infection is eradicated.

Strengthening the Tooth

The treated tooth becomes more fragile since it no longer has pulp. It relies on nourishment from the ligament, attaching it to the bone. Although this supply is sufficient, over time, the tooth may become weak. For this reason, a protection such as a crown or filling is used to strengthen it. In this final step, you must decide with your dentist on the best approach for strengthening. Until the crown or filling is placed, you should avoid chewing or biting on the tooth. Once the crown or filling is in place, normal use of the tooth can resume.

Common Symptoms Leading to a Root Canal


A visit to your dentist is necessary to determine if you truly require a root canal. However, there are several signs to watch out for that can help you prevent further damage.

Persistent Tooth Pain

Persistent tooth pain is indicative of a potential need for a root canal. This pain may persist constantly or intermittently, but it consistently recurs. You might experience discomfort deep within the bone of the affected tooth or perceive referred pain in your face, jaw, or other teeth.
Regardless of the underlying cause, seeking dental attention is advisable if you experience tooth pain, especially if it persists. Early examination and intervention will provide the best outcome.

Experiencing Sensitivity to Temperature Changes

Another common symptom that indicates you need a root canal is tooth sensitivity. Whether it is a slight twinge while enjoying warm soup or a sharp pain when indulging in ice cream, sensitivity to temperature changes can be a problem. This sensitivity may manifest as a dull ache or a sudden, sharp pain. If this discomfort persists even after you have stopped eating or drinking, it could indicate a more serious issue, possibly requiring a root canal procedure. In most cases, when a tooth reacts to hot or cold stimuli with pain, it may suggest an infection or damage to the blood vessels and nerves within the tooth.

Tooth Discoloration

Discoloration of a tooth can also be a warning sign of underlying dental issues. Infections affecting the pulp of the tooth can lead to changes in its coloration. Injuries to the tooth or deterioration of its internal structure can harm the roots, causing the tooth to take on a grayish-black hue. While tooth discoloration can result from various factors, it is advisable to consult your dentist if you observe any changes in the color of your teeth.

Chipped, Cracked, or Loose Tooth

If you have recently experienced a dental injury from an accident, sports collision, or even biting down on something too hard, it is necessary to address it promptly. Bacteria can attack the damaged tooth, leading to inflammation and potential infection.

Even if a tooth does not visibly chip or crack, the injury could still harm its nerves, triggering inflammation and sensitivity. In such cases, root canal therapy might be necessary to alleviate discomfort and preserve the tooth.

Weakness and Signs of Mobility

When a tooth becomes infected, it may feel less stable in its socket. This feeling of looseness can result from various factors, including nerve damage or pulpal necrosis. However, if multiple teeth exhibit mobility, the issue may stem from other causes unrelated to root canal treatment.

Preparing for Your Root Canal Appointment


A root canal is a routine dental appointment and should not be a cause for alarm. When preparing for your appointment, you should keep a few factors in mind. It is recommended that you fast for at least two hours before your appointment. Avoid consuming coffee, tea, water, or gum. On the morning of your appointment, maintain your usual teeth cleaning routine. Dress comfortably for your appointment, considering you might be in the dental chair for some time.

If you suffer from tooth pain or experience some of the symptoms above, a root canal treatment is necessary. This is why we are here to help you along the way. Our Alder Dental experts are available for a consultation if you feel you may need a root canal. Reach out to us by calling (360) 831-0831, and we will help you in your journey.


Office Hours:


Monday: By appointment
Tuesday: 8am - 5pm
Wednesday: 8am - 5pm
Thursday: 8am - 5pm
Friday: 7am - 2:30pm

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Root Canals | Dentist Vancouver, WA | Alder Dental
Alder Dental offers Endodontic Treatment (root canal) services in Vancouver WA. Visit Alder Dental to learn about root canals.
Alder Dental - Brian Alder, DDS, 8700 NE Hazel Dell Ave, Vancouver, WA 98665-8067; (360) 831-0831; alder-dental.com; 5/28/2024; Tags: Root Canal, Endodontic treatment Vancouver WA, Denist Vancouver WA