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What Is a Root Canal? Answering Common Root Canal FAQs

If you have a toothache and think your tooth might be infected, you may need a root canal. The team at Golden Gate Dental will answer any questions you may have about this procedure and what it involves. 

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of endodontic treatment which is used to restore an infected tooth. This procedure is used to remove inflamed, infected root “pulp” from the inside of your teeth, destroy the infection, and restore your tooth permanently.

Why Would I Need a Root Canal?

Root canals are necessary when your tooth “pulp” has become infected. Most commonly, this happens because a large cavity has eaten away at the hard enamel and dentin, and reached the soft interior pulp. This can also happen if an accident or injury cracks your tooth, though this is rare.

Once the pulp becomes infected, the tooth begins to destroy itself from the inside out. Eventually, it will die and require extraction, or fall out of your mouth. A root canal is used to save your tooth and prevent this from happening. 

What’s the Root Canal Process Like?

The process is actually quite similar to having a tooth filled. First, your mouth will be cleaned and numbed. Then, the affected tooth will be isolated with a dental dam, and Dr. Sosis will remove any damaged enamel. Next, she will make a small hole in the tooth through which all of the infected pulp and material from the inside of your tooth will be removed. She will disinfect it and then fill your tooth with an inert, rubber-like material. Finally, you’ll have a temporary filling or dental crown placed. Usually, you’ll need to come back to our office in a few weeks for a permanent filling.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

No. The process is minimally-invasive and delivered under powerful local numbing agents. We also offer sedation at Golden Gate Dental, so that you can feel even more comfortable and relaxed throughout the process.

How Much Do Root Canals Cost? 

The answer to this can vary quite a bit based on your tooth’s location, the extent of the infection, and a number of other factors. For a precise estimate, we recommend coming into our office for a consultation. 

Are There Any Alternatives to a Root Canal?

You can have your tooth extracted and replaced with a partial denture, dental bridge, or implant. However, this is not recommended unless root canal treatment has already failed, as this is much more expensive, and root canals have a very high success rate. 

If you have any more questions about root canal therapy or believe that you may need a root canal due to an infected tooth, the team at Golden Gate Dental is here to help. You can contact us now at (415) 367-3444 for a consultation with Dr. Sosis, and get the answers you need. You can also schedule your consultation in person at 3200 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94118.