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Posts for tag: root canal

June 06, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Root CanalRoot canal therapy is probably one of the most misunderstood dental procedures. If you've never had one, you may be under the common impression that it is an excruciatingly painful procedure that borders on torture. But in reality, a root canal is very similar to other common treatments like getting a dental filling in terms of pain and discomfort. Ironically, root canal therapy actually provides relief from the pain associated with severe tooth decay and infections. Dr. David Feeney, a dentist in Matthews, NC, offers restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dental services for adults and pediatric patients.

Root Canal Therapy in Matthews, NC

Root canal therapy (also known as endodontic treatment) is used to clean bacteria and damaged tissue from an infected or severely decayed tooth. First, the dentist drills a small hole in the tooth and removes the root and nerve tissue and cleans the tooth from the inside out. Once the root canal is complete, the tooth is sealed with a veneer or cosmetic bonding and looks and feels as good as new.

When a Root Canal is Necessary

A root canal is usually prescribed when a tooth is severely decayed or infected and would otherwise need to get extracted. A dental exam is necessary to determine whether you need a root canal, but one of the most common signs of infection is pain or throbbing in the tooth. Bacteria may get into the pulp through a cavity, an injury to the tooth, or through a crack or break resulting from prior dental work. Heightened tooth or gum sensitivity may also be a sign of infection or damage. If you are experiencing pain or excessive tooth sensitivity, see a dentist as soon as possible.

Find a Dentist in Matthews, NC

Don't let fear and misinformation keep you from the dental care you need. For more information about root canal therapy or for emergency dental services, contact our office by calling (704) 847-1000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Feeney today.


It’s often best health-wise to preserve even the most troubled tooth—including a child’s primary (“baby”) tooth. If that sounds like too much effort for a tooth that lasts only a few years, there’s a big reason why—if it’s lost prematurely, the incoming permanent tooth above it could erupt out of position.

Preserving a decayed primary tooth could include procedures similar to a root canal treatment, commonly used in adult permanent teeth with inner decay. However, we may need to modify this approach to protect the primary tooth’s pulp. This innermost layer plays a critical role in early dental development.

Because an adult tooth has reached maturity, removing diseased pulp tissue has little effect on its permanent health. But the pulp contributes to dentin growth (the layer between it and the outer enamel) in primary and young permanent teeth, so removing it could ultimately compromise the tooth’s long-term health.

Our goal then with a child’s tooth is to remove as much diseased tissue as possible while involving the pulp as little as possible. What techniques we use will depend on how much of the pulp has become infected.

For example, if decay has advanced to but hasn’t yet penetrated the pulp, we may remove all but a small amount of the decayed structure just next to the pulp to avoid its exposure. We may then apply an antibacterial agent to this remaining portion and seal the tooth to curb further infection.

If on the other hand the pulp has become infected, we may try to remove only the infected portion and leave the remaining pulp intact. We’ll only be able to do this, however, if we deem the remaining pulp healthy enough to remain infection-free after the procedure. If not, we may need to remove the entire pulp as with a traditional root canal. This option, though, is a last resort due to the possible effect on dentin growth and the tooth’s long-term health.

As you can see attempts to preserve a primary tooth can be quite involved. But if we can help it reach its full life span, it could mean better dental health for a lifetime.

If you would like more information on caring for primary teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”