Ross Allen, DDS
Oklahoma City Family Dentistry

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.  "Root canal" is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth's nerve lies within the root canal.  A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.
Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs to look for include

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
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Our office is dedicated to putting patient and community safety as our number one priority.  As a result, we are taking additonal infection control measures you may not be familiar with.  The infection control measures include seeing staff in full face mask and gown.  These steps are recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Healther Administration (OSHA).  We are also limiting the number of people in the building at a given time.  You may be asked to call us from the parking lot when you arrive.  A staff member will deliver any necessary paperwork to your car for you to complete before entering the building.  Rest assured, infection control and patient safety has always been and will remain our number one priorty.