What to Know about Root Canals

beaverton family dentistry

If you have questions about root canals for Dr. Barrett at Barrett Family Dental, you’re not alone. At our Beaverton family dentistry, we routinely field questions about this common procedure, especially because of all the misinformation and myths out there about it. So today, we’ll break down the basics of what a root canal is, what are the signs you might need a root canal and what the treatment usually entails.


What is a root canal?

In a nutshell, a root canal is a dental procedure that removes the tissues inside a tooth and repairs the decay found in an infected or abscessed tooth. What causes a tooth infection or abscess? Usually, it’s due to harmful oral bacteria working its way inside your tooth. Once inside, the infection can spread down the issue, through the root canals of your teeth and into your gum tissues.


One of the most common dental surgeries, a root canal saves your natural tooth, limiting the amount of restorative work that is required. Once performed, the treated tooth can be maintained for the rest of your life.


You may need a root canal if…

You experience any pain and/or sensitivity.  Tooth pain is one of the most common symptoms of an infection. It can occur suddenly or it may come in waves over many days and intensify over time. Along with pain, you may also experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages. If you do experience tooth pain, contact us right away. Because sensitivity doesn’t always indicate an infection, it should be diagnosed by Dr. Barrett.


Your gums change in color or size. Other signs of infection and inflammation include swollen gums, discoloration or small pimples on the gums. If you experience any of these issues, let us know right away. Even if you don’t need a root canal, Dr. Barrett should be alerted to any changes in the appearance of your gums.


Your tooth is damaged. Do your teeth have any chips, cracks or breakage? If so, the tissue can become exposed, leading to an infection. By fixing any of these issues early, Dr. Barrett can prevent the need for a root canal. Damaged teeth can be repaired through a variety of treatments, including fillings, inlays and crowns.


There’s a bad taste in your mouth. Swelling, drainage and pus from in and around an infected tooth can lead to persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, even after brushing and rinsing. If you develop persistent bad breath, contact our office right away.


Think you may need a root canal? Contact our Beaverton office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barrett as soon as possible.