Root Canal Therapy

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia

Dr. Michael Chung works on a patient at Softouch Dental Care in Virginia

Endodontics treats the pulp and other tissue inside your teeth. Endodontic therapy is often referred to as a root canal. It can preserve your natural tooth even when the inside of your tooth has become decayed and damaged.

Put an End to Pain with a Root Canal

We have all heard horror stories about root canals, but when done properly by a qualified dentist, endodontic therapy does not to have to be painful. In fact, if you need the procedure you are probably in pain right now. Endodontic therapy can put an end to that pain.

If you do have anxiety about dental visits, Dr. Chung offers sedation dentistry to help you relax and have a pleasant, comfortable experience.

Understanding the Root Canal

Inside the visible part of a tooth (the crown) is a space known as the pulp chamber. It extends down inside the tooth roots right to their tips in the jawbone. This is where blood vessels and nerves enter the teeth from the body’s circulatory and nervous systems. Because it’s the tooth’s root that contains this long chamber, it’s known as the root canal. There may be up to four roots per tooth, each with a root canal.

What we call “pulp” consists of the small blood vessels and nerves, plus fibrous connective tissue. Bacteria can enter the pulp through decay that has broken down part of the enamel or through a crack in the enamel.

When bacteria get inside the pulp, infection spreads and reaches the nerve inside that root canal. When the nerve is subjected to bacterial toxins and infection, we have a toothache. When the nerve finally dies, that toothache disappears, but the problem continues.

Decay, if left untreated, can spread right down the root canal into the jawbone. Since there are blood vessels in the root canal and gums, infection can get into the bloodstream and thus travel to any other part of the body.

How Endodontic Therapy Works

If the problems are treated early enough, the tooth root can be saved. Dr. Chung can do this by cleaning out the bacteria, their debris, and all infected material from the tooth and root canal, and then filling it with dental materials. By the time the root canal needs saving, the tooth’s crown is already past saving and will need a crown.

During endodontic treatment, Dr. Chung will fill the root canal with a rubbery substance called Gutta Percha and place a porcelain crown over the remaining tooth structure. He will then seal off the tip of the root to prevent any leaking.

You now have a newly reinforced tooth with no nerve. The porcelain crown part of the tooth looks, feels, and functions like your regular teeth. The nerve’s absence means you will have no more toothaches in that tooth, and does not compromise the tooth in any way. It can exist indefinitely without any nerve, allowing you to chew normally and painlessly again. You will be able to go back to eating your favorite food in comfort, and the procedure will not affect how you speak.

If you are suffering from a toothache, please call Softouch Dental Care today at 703-319-6990. Delay will not help; it will allow the problem to get worse. Don’t be deceived if your toothache stops. The bacteria are still there, still damaging the rest of the tooth.

Dr. Chung welcomes patients throughout Oakton, Tysons Corner, Reston, Vienna, Arlington, Fairfax and the Northern Virginia area.