At Balboa Island Dentistry, located in Newport Beach, California, leading prosthodontist,Dr. Stephen G. Alfano offers expert root canal procedures. With over two decades of experience, Dr. Alfano’s experience in performing root canals is respected throughout Newport Beach and neighboring areas across Orange County.

Root Canal Q & A

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is an endodontic procedure used to treat the pulp of a tooth that has become infected or inflamed. The pulp is the center of the tooth. It consists of cells and living connective tissue that is removed during a root canal. Once the infected material is removed, the dentist cleans and disinfects the area. Next, he or she fills the tooth and seals it with a rubbery material known as gutta-percha. The dentist then caps the tooth with a crown or administers a filling to protect and restore the tooth.

Why Is a Root Canal Needed?

A root canal can remedy infection and prevent it from spreading to other teeth. Any procedure that prevents a tooth from having to be extracted is beneficial to a patient’s overall oral health. A root canal can alleviate the pain associated with an inflamed tooth.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take?

Generally, Dr. Alfano performs a root canal in an hour. If the infection is extreme, he may opt to perform the procedure over two visits.

How Should a Patient Care for the Treated Tooth?

Generally, the tooth will last for many years as long as the patient brushes and flosses his or her teeth daily. The patient must visit the dentist for regular teeth cleanings and examinations to evaluate the condition of the tooth and to make sure the infection doesn’t return. Despite having a crown or filling, the tooth has the potential to decay or become fractured.

Are Patients Conscious During a Root Canal?

Yes. Patients remain awake during root canals, as the procedure is not painful. Root canals tend to feel the same as having a cavity filled. The patient will receive a numbing agent on the tooth. However, those who have an intense fear of dental procedures may opt for sedation dentistry from Dr. Alfano.

Does It Hurt Afterward?

The patient may experience minor pain and discomfort after the procedure, but over-the-counter pain relievers assist with easing the pain.