Before, a broken tooth is usually extracted. However, this may lead to weaker bones and even bone loss. Fortunately, thanks to the advancement in modern dentistry, there is now a more secure way of saving a damaged or decayed tooth and that is the root canal treatment. Having natural teeth is better than having artificial ones because they function better.

Contents: What is a root canal? | Reasons for it? | Symptoms | Procedure | do I need Crown placement? | How to care after? | How much it costs? | Appointment | FAQ

Keep your Natural Teeth by removing root of the tooth

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of endodontics treatment that focuses on saving the natural tooth which has become infected or damaged instead of permanently removing it. As the name implies, root canal treatment repairs the tooth by cleaning the canals inside of an infected tooth.

It is important to know the anatomy of a tooth to further understand how the root canal works. Dental pulp or pulp chamber is a soft oral tissue under the white dental enamel and a hard layer called dentin. Inside the dentin are canals – anatomic spaces that naturally exist along the length of the root. Since the dental pulp is comprised of numerous nerve tissues, loose connective tissues, and blood vessels, when the pulp gets infected, inflamed, or irritated due to tooth decay, cracks, dental trauma, or undergoing frequent dental treatments, this may cause unbearable pain and may lead to tooth loss. An infected tooth may be saved through the root canal procedure by removing the infected pulp, cleaning the inside of the tooth, and sealing it with a dental crown.

How can a Tooth’s Root get Infected?

An infected root canal is a dental condition when bacteria attacks the inside of a tooth due to tooth decay, dental injury, a crack, a root fracture, or dental cavities. Continuous teeth restoration may also lead to an inflamed root canal. Dental caries or cavities are often caused by food particles stuck between the interdental spaces of the teeth especially in the surfaces of molars since they are constantly used for chewing food. If you neglect your dental care, the bacteria that is always existing in your mouth has the possibility of transforming sugar and carbohydrate content into acid. This acid can dwindle the protective properties of saliva on the dental enamel which eventually leads to tooth decay. If left as is, the dental pulp can be infected. Other possible diseases caused by cavities are the oral cavity, salivary gland, and jaw.

Not only do the bacteria in your mouth infect your teeth, but they can also affect your gums. This infection may lead to gum disease or periodontitis. Moreover, loosed gum tissues can lead to exposure of the dentin layer which results in infection of the connective tissue in the dental pulp.

There are several causes of infection in the tooth’s roots. However, regardless of the reason, it is essential to administer fast treatment because if it’s left untreated, it may lead to an abscessed tooth which results in tooth extraction. The abscess formed in the tooth is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. It develops around the root of an inflamed tooth and may cause discomfort or unbearable pain.

When is Endodontic therapy needed?

Saving a patient’s natural teeth is usually a priority of a dentist. There are other kinds of endodontics treatment but root canal therapy generally treats dental problems such as a dead nerve, infected or inflamed nerves, a cracked or decayed tooth. However, there are some cases when a root canal treatment is not the right solution. Such conditions include impacted wisdom teeth. This condition occurs when third molars erupt but don’t have sufficient space to grow. A dentigerous cyst may even develop around the unerupted tooth which is generally found on the lower quadrant and may require the impacted teeth’s extraction. In addition, pericoronitis – a complication when bacteria is formed around the soft tissue of a wisdom tooth – may occur causing inflammation which can be solved by removing the affected tooth. Supernumerary teeth and crowded teeth can also be resolved by tooth extraction.

The patient and the dentist will have a consultation regarding the patient’s current dental condition before proceeding with the proper treatment. In the case that it has been decided to go with a root canal procedure, the therapy will only take two visits which is the minimum duration a normal root canal treatment usually takes.

Step by Step procedure

  • Imaging

    Visualization of the infected tooth’s damage and its composition is the first step of a root canal procedure. An x-ray is usually conducted to determine this and for the endodontist to have a visible radiographic view of which roots are affected.

  • Anesthesia

    A root canal therapy involves surgery and is usually painful since it involves the nerves. However, thanks to the local anesthesia, the pain is kept at a bare minimum.

  • Opening the Canal

    In order to reveal the infected area, a hole is drilled through the enamel in the crown from the posterior teeth or the lingual side if the infected tooth is in the front.

  • Cleaning the infected tooth and removing root

    After exposing the troubled areas, the infected nerve tissues will be removed and the canals will be thoroughly cleaned. Akin to this procedure is pulpotomy, a type of dental treatment involving the removal of the dental pulp within the crown and maintaining the pulp in the root canal. This procedure is usually done on children with decayed primary teeth.

  • Sealing

    Gutta-percha is a plastic material for sealing the hole on the site of the affected tooth. A resin cement sealant is also utilized for the filling of the vacant space. It is essential to immediately fill the gap to prevent bacteria invading the hole.

  • Filling and Temporary Crown

    A temporary restoration is used to cover the hole and to seal the end of the root canal. A few stitches are also done to help the tissue heal faster. A temporary crown may be planted to protect the tooth until a permanent crown is made.

  • Permanent Seal and Smile

    The temporary sealing is interchanged with a permanent filling at the next visit once the tooth has healed and the patient has agreed.

Why is Crown placement necessary after Root Canal Surgery?

Undergoing root canal treatment will result in thinner walls of the tooth. Thus, it is advised to apply a dental crown to fortify it. We will provide a temporary crown once you decide to have a crown placed on your treated tooth. The imaging is then sent to the lab to create a permanent crown. Once done, it will then be fitted on your tooth.


Once you get home after your treatment, put an ice pack over the treated area for 30 minutes to help lessen the inflammation. If the treated area is still bleeding, put a gauze pack over it and bite tightly. This will help control the bleeding.

Pain Relief

  • Pain reliever medicines such as Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) can be used to lessen the pain and discomfort.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken instead of NSAID or Aspirin if the patient is allergic to the latter medication.
  • You may ask for a check-up and a prescription from your endodontist if the pain still remains.


Having an infection after a root canal treatment is rare. Nevertheless, in case this happens, the patient will usually experience a fever. Antibiotics are recommended to treat this infection. If infection is suspected, the following tips are advised:

  • Pain reliever medicines such as Ibuprofen and other over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) can be used to lessen the pain and discomfort.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken instead of NSAID or Aspirin if the patient is allergic to the latter medication.
  • You may ask for a check-up and a prescription from your endodontist if the pain still remains.

Root canal treatment cost

There are numerous factors that affect the Root Canal Cost such as the severity of the damaged tooth’s condition and its location, hours of appointment and number of visits, and the skill of the endodontist. The following are estimated costs that may help you get an insight of the general cost range of the treatment:

How much does a Root canal cost?

  • Molar – $1,000 up to $2,000
  • Bicuspid – $700 - $1,000
  • Front (anterior) – $600 - $900

The total cost will also be affected if you have a dental insurance plan which is highly recommended since it will help you cover a portion of the total expenses. We accept almost all PPOs and work with lenders such as CareCredit. We also provide interest-free, in-house payment plans.

Root Canal Therapy Near Huntington Beach, CA

Choosing an endodontist who is near to where you live, work, or go to school is important when you want to save time and money. There might be a couple of treatment or follow-up appointments later so having your dental clinic close by will make things more convenient for you. You may search for a dental specialist with positive and excellent feedback for root canal treatment. Feeling comfortable with your endodontist is also an essential factor to take into consideration. Schedule an Appointment.

Committed to a Custom Endodontic Experience at Harbor Smiles

Endodontic Therapy Near Me

If you are looking for a nearby dental office that can provide a professional and comfortable dental experience, we at Harbor Smiles are happy to be of service. Set up an appointment with us now if you are near Huntington Beach and achieve a healthier tooth.

FAQs on how to save your natural teeth

Is getting an endodontic treatment painful?

Root canal treatment is normally painful without local anesthesia. However, if anesthesia is used, most patients will only feel pain at a minimum according to the American Association of Endodontists. Read Dr. Manali Patel DDS

Why does it take 2 visits?

A normal duration of a typical root canal treatment takes about two appointments. On the first appointment, the inflamed nerves and tissues are extracted and the tooth is covered. The affected root canals are then sterilized and cleaned to prevent infection on the second appointment. Harbor Smiles office.

Do you always need a crown with a RCT?

A root canal therapy often results in thinner walls of the teeth and strengthening them with crowns is advised. Depending on which tooth was treated, a dental crown may or may not be necessary. Front teeth do not necessarily need crowns. However, molars and bicuspids are recommended to have dental crowns in place since they are often used to chew food. Furthermore, studies have shown that a treated tooth with a dental crown has a six times higher survival rate than those without it.

You will be referred to a prosthodontist to restore your damaged teeth by placing a permanent dental implant. Prosthodontics utilizes crowns, bridges, and implants to repair the affected tooth. These, however, are different from dentures as the former are permanent while the latter is removable.

How long does it take?

A typical root canal treatment approximately takes 30 - 60 minutes per appointment while a more severe case takes up to 90 minutes. Two appointments are generally the common duration of a root canal therapy.

Can you eat after root canal therapy?

Yes, however you must wait until the anesthesia completely wears off to prevent biting your cheek or tongue. Eating soft foods is highly recommended after your procedure. Banana slices are rich in potassium and can efficiently help your teeth use calcium. Also, do not bite or chew where the treated tooth is to avoid damage. Wait for it to heal first before you can use it to chew on food again.

Can you drive home after the treatment?

Yes, you can. However, if you went under sedation before the procedure, it is best if you have someone else drive you home.

What can you not do after an endodontic treatment?

You must not bite or chew on the treated tooth until it is fully healed or repaired by your endodontist. You must also prevent adding pressure on the treated area to avoid any damage. Use a soft toothbrush and brush your teeth gently especially on the treated area to avoid damage to the fillings. Being present during your follow-up check-ups is also essential. You may use a mouth guard or bite splint to keep the treated tooth safe from outside interference. Moreover, it is not recommended to smoke after the procedure because smoking only adds to the possibility of infection which may lead to undergoing another therapy.

Request a Complimentary appointment to understand saving your original teeth

You may schedule an appointment and visit our office to know more details about us, the root canal treatment and its cost, and the insurance providers we accept. Our caring and skilled team is eager to meet you and help you get rid of tooth pain and achieve healthier teeth.