Posts for tag: root canal

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
May 23, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

The thought of undergoing a root canal can be intimidating, but root canal treatment is similar to filling a cavity and can save a damaged tooth from extraction. There are several signs you may need a root canal. Knowing these signs gives you an opportunity to see a dentist asRoot Canal soon as possible so your tooth can be spared. Dr. Joel Johnson is your Columbia, SC, dentist for root canals.

Root Canals

Root canals can strengthen and restore teeth damaged by infection that would otherwise need to be extracted. Teeth damaged by infection can become too weak to perform normal biting and chewing functions. Consequently, there is a tendency to avoid using those teeth, which puts additional strain on surrounding teeth that have to compensate for the weaker teeth. Once the root canal procedure is complete, the previously infected tooth will be free of infection and will be strong enough to perform normal biting and chewing functions again.

When the soft pulpy center of a tooth becomes infected, the infection can spread down through the root and form an abscess below the tooth. An untreated abscess can cause the infection to spread to other teeth and even the jaw bone, resulting in further oral health problems. During root canal treatment, the infection is removed from the interior of the tooth and root. The area is thoroughly cleaned out, then filled in and sealed with dental filling, much like filling a cavity, and the tooth is restored.

Root Canal Signs

Several problems in the mouth can be indications of the need for a root canal. If you develop any of these problems your Columbia dentist can examine your teeth and determine if a root canal is needed. Some of the signs you may need a root canal include:

  • Developing a severe or persistent toothache
  • Developing severe mouth pain
  • Experiencing sharp pain when biting or chewing food
  • Developing persistent pain or pressure in the mouth
  • Experiencing tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages

Benefits of Root Canals

There are multiple benefits to having root canal treatment. A major benefit is avoiding extraction of damaged teeth. Another benefit is how relatively simple the procedure is to perform as it is quite similar to filling cavities in teeth with decay. Additional benefits of root canals include:

  • Avoiding extraction of teeth
  • Strengthening damaged teeth
  • Restoring regular tooth functioning
  • Preventing the spread of infection to other teeth
  • Alleviating tooth pain, discomfort, and sensitivity

There are several signs you may need a root canal, such as sharp pain when biting or chewing food. If you have any of these signs it is important that you see a dentist as soon as possible. Having root canal treatment in time can spare your tooth from extraction. To find out if you may need a root canal, schedule an appointment with Dr. Johnson, your Columbia, SC, dentist for root canal treatment, by calling the office at (803) 788-2555.


Root canal treatments are an essential part of dental care — countless teeth with deep decay would be lost each year without it. Now, this traditional dental care procedure is advancing to a new level of precision through lasers.

Root canal treatments have a simple goal: access a tooth's infected pulp and root canals, clean out the infected tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and canals with a special filling. Once filled, the access is sealed and a porcelain crown later placed for additional protection against re-infection.

In the traditional procedure, we perform these steps manually with a dental drill and hand instruments. We may also need to remove a good portion of tooth structure, both healthy and infected tissue. A laser, on the other hand, is a highly focused beam of light with the ability to interact with healthy and infected tissues differently: destroying infected tissue while having no effect on nearby healthy tissue. The end result: we may be able to remove less healthy tissue with lasers than with the conventional procedure.

Lasers are also helpful with softening and precisely molding the filling material within each canal's particular shape. And, early reports seem to indicate a higher degree of comfort for patients (less drill noise and need for anesthesia), less bleeding and faster recovery times than the conventional approach.

But as a tool for root canal treatments, lasers do have a couple of disadvantages. While light travels in a straight line, root canals are rarely straight — conventional instruments with curved designs usually accommodate odd canal shapes better than a laser. Lasers can also raise temperatures within a tooth that can damage healthy tissue, both within the pulp and outward into the dentin.

Still, lasers for root canal treatments appear promising with some dentists using a combination of lasers and manual techniques to garner benefits from both approaches. While you won't see lasers replacing the traditional root canal treatment anytime soon, the future looks bright for more efficient ways to treat deep tooth decay.

If you would like more information on your options for root canal therapy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
September 14, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

“You need a root canal,” isn’t something you want to hear during a dental visit. But whatever your preconceptions about it may be, the fact is root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they alleviate it. What’s more, it may be your best chance to save a tooth that’s at high risk for loss.

First of all, root canal treatments address a serious problem that may be occurring inside a tooth — tooth decay that’s infiltrated the pulp chamber. If it’s not stopped, the decay will continue to advance through the root canals to the bone and weaken the tooth’s attachment. To access the pulp and root canals we first administer a local anesthesia and then create an opening in the tooth, typically in the biting surface.

After accessing the pulp chamber, we then remove all the pulp tissue and clean out any infection.  We then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a special filling and seal the opening we first created. The procedure is often followed some weeks later with a laboratory made crown that permanently covers the tooth for extra protection against another occurrence of decay and protects the tooth from fracturing years later.

Besides stopping the infection from continuing beyond the roots and saving the tooth from loss, root canal treatments also alleviate the symptoms caused by decay, including tenderness and swelling of surrounding gum tissue and sensitivity to hot and cold foods or pressure when biting down. And, it reduces pain — the dull ache or sometimes acute pain from the tooth that may have brought you to our office in the first place.

General dentists commonly perform root canal treatments; in more complicated cases they’re performed by an endodontist, a specialist in root canal treatments. Afterward, any discomfort is usually managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

Root canal treatments are a common procedure with a high rate of success. Undergoing one will end the pain and discomfort your infected tooth has caused you; more importantly, your tooth will gain a new lease on life.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Concerns about Root Canal Treatment.”

Columbia, SC Dentist
Joel E Johnson, DMD, PA
9 Office Park Ct.
Columbia, SC 29223
(803) 788-2555
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