Endodontics (Root Canal)
Dr. Travis Howey has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your root canal treatment.
Dedicated to life-long learning, Dr. Howey has averaged 50 continuing education credit hours (per licensing period) throughout his career; the minimum requirements for the state of Washington are 20 continuing education credit hours per licensing period!
“I have been going to Klahanie Dentistry since 2005 and have always had a great experience. Ever since Dr. Howey took the reigns, I feel even more comfortable, never being oversold on service, and the work is always done very efficiently and without pain.”
Dr. Travis Howey, with a high-tech dental office for root canals located in Issaquah, is always educated and informed on the latest and greatest endodontic technologies and trends.
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Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes, the only way to resolve an infection and relieve pain is through root canal treatment. It might sound scary, but root canals offer a significant long-term benefit. They represent the last chance of saving a tooth before thinking about its extraction, so all dentists will advise their patients at least to consider this treatment.
Root canals are the only treatment option for those teeth with long-standing decay. When a cavity isn’t treated on time, the infection keeps progressing until it affects the dental pulp. This inner soft tissue keeps the tooth alive and houses the nerves, so when the decay infects the pulp, it reacts, causing pain (the famous and dreaded toothache). In the long run, the infection can also reach the tip of the tooth’s root, creating an abscess on the side of the gums.
Video 01:00 If you have an abscessed tooth, that means the pulp of tooth is infected and you need root canal therapy.
What is a root canal?
A “root canal” (also known as root canal therapy or endodontic treatment) is a dental procedure that eliminates the infected dental pulp from the inside of a tooth and replaces the removed tissue with gutta-percha, a biocompatible filling material.
The pulp is a soft tissue found in the very center of the tooth, extending down to every tooth root’s tip. It is housed in a central chamber and a few canals that run down each root, hence the term “root canal”. When the pulp is removed, the tooth is basically dead and has no more sensitivity, so it cannot hurt anymore.
To start this procedure, the dentist needs to create an opening on the top of the tooth called an “access hole”. Through this hole, he can reach the inner chamber of the tooth. He will use special instruments to remove the infected pulp from the chamber and the canals. Once the tissue is extirpated, the chamber and the canals are cleaned and filled, and the access hole is sealed off. In many cases, the tooth will then need a dental crown to be fully restored.
What is the alternative to having a root canal?
The only possible alternative to root canal therapy is having the tooth removed. As mentioned before, root canal treatment is usually the last option available to try to save a severely damaged tooth. Having said so, patients need to be aware that the root canal should be performed as soon as the dentist indicates it. If it isn’t done on time, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone, and there will be no option but to extract the tooth.
Click to enlarge. Illustration showing an example of a root canal procedure.
We advise our patients to invest time and money in saving a tooth with a root canal. It is more conservative and affordable than losing the tooth and replacing it with an implant or a dental bridge
Should I get a root canal?
Having a root canal done on a severely damaged tooth is always advisable. No tooth replacement alternative is as good as natural teeth.
If you have a tooth extensively affected by decay, our dentist will examine it to see if you’re a suitable candidate for root canal therapy. A clinical exam and x-rays will be required to evaluate the vitality of the tooth and the health of surrounding tissues. If you choose not to have a root canal, you’ll probably need to have the affected tooth extracted.