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Root Canal Therapy

Diagram of tooth showing tooth rootThe American Association of Endodontics has researched that over 15 million root canals are performed each year. Although the term “root canal” is enough to make many people terrified of going to the dentist, the truth is that the procedure is only as painful as getting a dental filling.

A root canal is an extremely important restorative procedure that aims to stop severe tooth pain and get rid of infection from a tooth. The procedure requires removing decayed or damaged pulp from the tooth chamber and sealing the cavity to prevent re-infection.

Why Does Dental Pulp Need to be Removed?

When a deep cavity occurs, or your tooth becomes fractured due to trauma, bacteria finds its way inside your tooth and spread decay into the tooth pulp. When the dental pulp becomes infected, the body’s fighting mechanism breaks it down. Bacteria multiply in the tooth chamber and cause an abscessed tooth characterized by bone loss around the tip.

A dental abscess is a pus-filled cavity that forms at the root tips. This pocket may be seen from the outside as a pimple on your gum or a swelling that can spread to other areas of your face, neck, or head. A drainage hole for the pus can also open into the gum or through the inside of your cheek, which can cause a foul taste in your mouth and bad odor.

When that happens, your tooth will require pulpectomy (removal of the dental pulp).

When Do You Need A Root Canal?

Root canal may be needed for the following reasons:
•  Dental Trauma: If you sustain a heavy blow to a tooth, the nerve at the end of your tooth may become severed and die. This can happen immediately after the trauma or over many years afterward.
•  Tooth Fracture: If your tooth becomes cracked and the fracture extends to the dental pulp, a root canal will be needed.
•  Resorption: Root resorption occurs when the tooth root gets absorbed back into the body due to an injury, tooth dislocation or attempt at tooth replantation. The exact causes of tooth resorption are not completely understood but what we do know is that the resorption can overrun into the pulp chamber. When that happens, tooth canal treatment, along with other dental restorative techniques, are needed to stop the destruction of more tooth structure. The tooth is usually fixed with a material called mineral trioxide aggregate. Tooth resorption is usually painless so dental checkup appointments at JP Dental & Implant Center must never be missed. This way, we can identify the root cause of the defect and correct it quickly before your tooth is lost.
•  Repeated Restorative Work: Repeated dental procedures that require drilling, like fillings, can cause a significant amount of stress on the tooth, causing the pulp to become inflamed. If that happens, Dr. John P. Poovey and Dr. Wilcox will need to determine whether the damage is reversible or irreversible. If it is irreversible, the tooth will need a root canal.

Does Root Canal Hurt?

In the past, pain during root canal treatments may have been a cause for concern. These days, however, thanks to better anesthesia and modern dental techniques, a root canal is usually as painless and comfortable as getting a filling. In fact, since the person getting a root canal is already in extreme pain, the procedure provides relief from pain in the shortest possible time.

Since the tooth nerve is removed from the dental chamber, your tooth becomes dead after the procedure and cannot feel any pain. However, some nerve ending outside of the tooth may become irritated due to the dental abscess or the procedure. This may result in slight pain for a few days which can be managed by over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen.

You should also try to chew from the opposite side of the mouth until your permanent crown has been developed and the surgical site has completely healed.

If you still feel severe pain in your tooth several days after the procedure, call us at (970) 822-7622 to schedule an appointment with us.


2412 Patterson Rd. #7
Grand Junction, CO 81505-1259


(970) 822-7622


Mon: 9am - 4pm
Tue - Thur: 8am - 4pm
Fri: 8am - 3pm

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