This is the branch of dentistry that deals with the treatment of the soft tissue (pulp) inside the tooth. Dentists or Endodontists who perform root canals, receive advanced training in this field after graduating from dental school.
Dr. Rodriguez has been trained as an Endodontist and is very skilled in carrying out root canal treatment.
There is also a common misconception that a root canal is an uncomfortable or even painful procedure. This is not the case. Actually, they are similar to having a cavity filled, which usually results in minimal discomfort.
Underneath your tooth's enamel (outer layer) is a layer called dentin and this layer covers an area of soft tissue known as pulp. Pulp tissue contains nerve fibers, blood vessels and connective tissue. The nerves enter the tooth at the very tip of its roots. Each of these nerves forms a canal that goes through the pulp of the tooth. Each tooth has a minimum of one and a maximum of four "root canals". These nerves give the tooth the ability to sense temperature.
Due to a deep cavity or a fracture in the tooth caused by an injury or trauma, bacteria are able to seep into the tooth causing the pulp to become infected. This results in damaged or dead pulp and this causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure which cannot be relieved from inside the tooth. This pressure on the nerves causes a feeling of pain. The pain is the body's way of telling you that something is wrong, and in this case it is an infection.
Without treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate and the tooth may fall out. A root canal procedure is done to save the damaged or dead pulp in the root canal of the tooth. This is done by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal. The canal is filled with a rubberlike substance or another material to prevent recontamination of the tooth. The tooth is then permanently sealed, with possibly a post and/or a crown made of porcelain or amalgam. This then allows you to keep the original tooth.
The only alternative to root canal therapy is to extract the tooth; Doing this however, can cause the surrounding teeth to move, resulting in a bad bite (the teeth in the upper jaw and lower jaw no longer meet correctly). Although a simple extraction is less expensive, the empty space left behind will require an implant or a bridge and this in the long run is more costly than root canal therapy.
To see a video providing more information about root canals, click here.
Irina Rodriguez, D.D.S.
(Serving Ojai, Lake Casitas, Santa Paula, Oxnard, Ventura, Carpinteria)
117 Pirie Rd., Suite A
Ojai, CA 93023
Phone: (805) 646-3700 Emergency: (805) 415-4478
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