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Due to the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic and current restrictions imposed by Governor Inslee and the State of Washington Department of Health, our office will be temporarily closed for all but emergency dental care. This closure is expected to last until May 18th, at which time we expect to resume regular business hours and all patient care. If you are experiencing a dental emergency requiring immediate attention, you may contact Dr. Kay at (206) 915-8020. Thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging time.

Root Canal

Diagram of tooth showing tooth rootRoot canal treatment is performed more than 15 million times each year. If you are recommended a root canal treatment at Kevin Kay DDS Comprehensive Family Dentistry, there is no need to worry as it is one of the most effective treatment in making in your tooth whole and healthy again.

Why Would You Need a Root Canal Treatment?

Beneath the white enamel and the underlying dentin lies the soft pulp of the tissue. This pulp contains soft tissue, blood vessels, and the tooth nerve. If your tooth becomes injured due to trauma or has decayed badly, bacteria can find its way inside the tooth chamber and cause infection. When the pulp becomes infected, it usually results in severe pain and the development of abscess. Some people may not feel pain during the early stages of infection. In the later stages of the infection, your tooth may darken, which means the nerve of the tooth is either dead or dying. When this happens, your teeth would need a root canal procedure.

What Does a Root Canal Treatment Involve?

Root canal treatment aims to remove all the infection from inside the tooth. The infected pulp is removed from the tooth chamber, and the insides are cleaned, disinfected and filled.
•  We will first administer local anesthesia to make sure you remain comfortable during the procedure. We will then drill a small hole into the crown of the tooth and remove the diseased tissue with very fine files.
•  Next, we will clean, shape, and disinfect the tooth chamber. The cavity is then filled with a putty-like substance called gutta-percha, which seals the root canal and the tooth chamber completely.
•  We will then top the prepared tooth with an artificial crown that would stabilize and strengthen the tooth.

Since the tooth nerve is removed, the tooth will no longer feel any pain there. However, it can still survive by drawing its nourishment from the surrounding tissues, like the ligaments which attach it to the bone. The tooth will now be more fragile, though, and will need the support of a permanent artificial tooth.

Until the crown is prepared, the patient must take care not to chew or bite with the affected tooth. Once the permanent crown is in place, you can eat normally.

Is Root Canal Treatment Successful?

Root canal treatment has a success rate of over 95 percent, so it is very effective in saving teeth. Getting a strong crown to protect your treated tooth increases the chances of your tooth’s survival. If you take care of your tooth by brushing and flossing it regularly and avoiding chewing on hard or sticky food, your crown may last for 10 years and more, depending on the material with which it was built.

However, if the bacteria or plaque are allowed to accumulate, they may re-infect the tooth and destroy the surrounding supporting structure of the tooth. If that happens, root canal treatment may need to be repeated.

To ensure your treated tooth remains healthy, do not miss your appointments with Dr. Kevin Kay. To schedule a checkup visit, call us at (425) 738-8476.