Root Canals

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At Heroes Dental in Texas, we often see patients who are absolutely miserable with pain come into our office. It’s usually safe to assume they will need a root canal procedure.

A root canal is performed to help repair a severely damaged and decaying tooth. The nerve and infected pulp are removed from the tooth, and the inside of the tooth is sealed and cleaned. Root canals might not seem pleasant, but neglecting to repair the issue is even worse. The tissue around the tooth can become infected and form an abscess. 

If you’re suffering from severe tooth pain, it might be time to get a root canal in McAllen.

What Conditions Are Root Canals Used To Treat?

Cracked Teeth

If your tooth has cracked far enough that the pulp is affected, you may need to undergo a root canal and receive a dental crown.

Filling Issues

Fillings can pull away from the tooth, leaving an area for bacteria to grow and cause tooth decay that can be treated with a root canal.

Deep Decay

If you have a cavity that has reached your tooth pulp, the inflamed pulp can be removed and the natural tooth can be cleaned during a root canal.

Signs You May Need a Root Canal


Root canals, also called endodontic treatment, are used to treat severe tooth decay and damage. Sometimes, there are no symptoms associated with these issues. However, you can watch for these symptoms for an idea of whether or not you might need a root canal:

  • A hole in your tooth
  • Significant toothaches
  • Pimple-looking sores or blisters on the gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Swelling in the gums
  • Swelling in the face and neck
  • Tooth darkening or discoloration

Keep in mind, these symptoms are associated with several different types of dental issues. You’ll need to see your family dentist to determine which treatment is right for you.

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Root Canal Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens During a Root Canal?

Before your dental procedure, an anesthetic will be used to numb the area near the affected tooth. Then, a dental dam will be put in place to keep the area clear of saliva. Next, your dentist will drill a small opening in the crown of your tooth. Through that opening, your dentist will remove the damaged pulp, the part of the tooth that contains the blood vessels and nerves. After preparing the area, your dentist will fill the cleared space with a rubber-like material. The area will most likely be covered with a temporary filling with the expectation that you will come back in to get a dental crown for the treated tooth. Dental crowns are commonly used after root canals.

How Common Are Root Canals?

One common misconception about root canals is that they’re very rare. In fact, at least 15 million root canals are performed in the U.S. every year. For adults, about 12% of the population has had a root canal. Some factors make it more likely that you require a root canal, such as repeated dental procedures and poor dental hygiene.

How Many Root Canals Does the Average Person Have?

Unfortunately, reporting is limited regarding how many root canals the average person may receive, but given the fact that about 12% of adults have had a root canal, the number of root canals most people will have is between none and one. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many people who need a root canal will actually require root canals for more than one tooth.

How Many Root Canals Is Too Many?

There is no limit on the number of root canals a person may receive. However, there are some restrictions on the frequency and location of root canals. On a single tooth, you can receive a maximum of two root canals, but the majority of people will only need one. You can also only receive one root canal per visit to the dentist as this procedure can take up to an hour to complete.

Are Root Canal Procedures Painful?

Before your root canal, your mouth will be numbed to prevent any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Patients report being reasonably comfortable during the procedure itself.

Are There Any Alternatives to a Root Canal?

Root canals are a method for treating a severely damaged tooth without removing it. As such, the alternative to root canals is tooth extraction. Having an infected tooth extracted usually isn’t the first option we pursue, but it is sometimes the only solution.

What Can I Expect Following My Root Canal Treatment?
Your mouth will be numb for up to four hours following your procedure, but you should be able to return to your regular activities on the same day. You can treat any lingering pain with over-the-counter pain medications, and avoid eating while your mouth is still even a little bit numb.

If you’re suffering from tooth pain, come see your McAllen family dentists at Heroes Dental for all your dentistry needs.

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