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Root Canal

Wynatte Chu, DDS

Cosmetic & General Dentist located in New York, NY & Westport, CT

Root canal procedures play an important role in fighting off deep infection or other damage to the central pulp portion of the tooth. Without root canal therapy, infection can spread to the lower portions of the tooth and even to the jawbone, causing serious, complex problems. With locations in Westport, Connecticut, and right in the middle of New York’s Tribeca and Chinatown neighborhoods, Dr. Wynatte Chu uses advanced root canal techniques to help patients prevent infections and avoid extractions.

Root Canal Q & A

What is a root canal?

The interior central portion of a tooth contains the tooth pulp, the part of the tooth that holds the nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels that support the tooth’s health. The pulp is located in narrow channels (canals) that extend all the way to the root. Sometimes, the pulp can become decayed or damaged, making the tooth more likely to break or fall out. In these cases, Dr. Chu may recommend a root canal procedure to remove the damaged pulp portion of the tooth and fill the resulting cavity, helping to preserve the tooth and prevent tooth loss.

What symptoms indicate I need a root canal?

The most common symptoms indicating a root canal may be necessary are:

  • Severe toothache: Especially when biting or chewing
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Pain or swelling in the gums
  • A bump or pimple on the gum that doesn’t resolve

What happens during a root canal procedure?

A root canal procedure uses the same basic approach that’s used when filling a more superficial cavity.

Dr. Chu uses special instruments to access and remove the tooth pulp. Then she carefully cleans the resulting cavity and seals it before filling it with a special filling material.

If an infection is present, Dr. Chu may first apply a temporary medicated filling to fight off bacteria.

Next, Dr. Chu will take an impression of the tooth, and the impression will be sent to a lab where a crown will be made. The crown will be made of ceramic or porcelain tinted to match the neighboring teeth.

Dr. Chu will place a temporary crown on the tooth to protect it until the second visit. At that appointment, Dr. Chu will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the permanent crown. If a temporary medicated filling was used, she’ll remove that material and replace it with “regular” filling material before placing the crown over the tooth.

Do I have to have a crown?

Yes, a tooth that’s treated with a root canal procedure needs to have a crown in order to provide additional protection and strength. Once the central “living”part of the tooth is removed, the outer structure can be weaker than usual, making it more prone to damage. The crown surrounds the treated tooth to help prevent it from becoming damaged. Teeth tend to darken following a root canal procedure, a crown also helps restore the tooth so it looks healthy and blends with the neighboring teeth.

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