San Francisco, CA dental team describes the purpose and expectations of root canal therapy

Drs. Terri Nguyen and Laura Huynh of West Portal Family Dentistry

San Francisco, CA area patients who are faced with the need for root canal therapy are often concerned about who they will visit for quality care. Drs. Terri Nguyen and Laura Huynh of West Portal Family Dentistry provide this service for patients who want to maintain their natural teeth and avoid extraction.


When might I need root canal therapy?

Patients often wonder when root canal therapy may be necessary to maintain the health and beauty of their smiles. Our dentists encourage patients to ask questions about this and other treatment options in our practice that are meant to achieve and maintain oral health and wellness. The primary reasons why patients may need root canal therapy include:

  • An abscess
  • A large cavity that impacts the dental pulp inside of the tooth
  • An infection of the dental pulp
  • Injury to the tooth structure and inner pulp

Most patients who realize they need root canal therapy will experience a severe toothache which indicates a serious problem that needs immediate care. We encourage patients who are struggling with pain in their mouth to visit their dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation and to discuss treatment options. Many times, treatment with root canal therapy is advised.


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How does root canal therapy work?

Root canal therapy, or “endodontic treatment,” is a procedure that is performed to save a natural tooth from extraction. Drs. Terri Nguyen and Laura Huynh welcome patients to learn about the procedure. It starts with the dentist making a precise hole in the tooth which allows them to access the inner canals of the teeth. Then, they are able to remove the dental pulp, a mass of tissues within the tooth that contain the nerves and blood supply. Once removed, the canals inside are disinfected to eliminate any signs of bacteria. The canals are then filled with a material called gutta percha, and then the tooth is sealed with composite resin, a material often used for fillings. In some situations, the dentist may also recommend a dental crown to be bonded over the tooth to give it an extra layer of protection. This is due to the tooth becoming brittle from the removal of the dental pulp. Regardless, patients are able to maintain the natural tooth structure and eliminate the need for extraction and replacement of the teeth.


Is root canal therapy painful?

When patients hear of root canal therapy, their first thought is often that of pain. Luckily, the procedure itself is not painful at all. At West Portal Family Dentistry, we offer sedation and anesthetics to ensure patients are completely comfortable before and during their treatment. We do not perform these types of procedures without ensuring patients are numb and comfortable in our dental chair. We welcome patients to ask about the treatment options available for avoiding pain and discomfort.


What alternatives are available?

At West Portal Family Dentistry, Drs. Terri Nguyen and Laura Huynh provide comprehensive dental care solutions

If patients have a problem that requires them to consider root canal therapy, they may want to know what alternative services may be available to treat their tooth. Unfortunately, there is no other way to address infection of the dental pulp outside of extraction. Extraction comes with other concerns. Over time, it can reduce the bone in the jaw where the tooth was once held, and patients have other expenses and issues to consider when it comes to tooth replacement options. Tooth replacement with dentures, dental bridges, or dental implants are common considerations for our patients if they decide to eliminate the tooth entirely. Maintaining the structure with root canal therapy, however, is highly recommended whenever possible.


Find out more about root canal therapy and other services at our practice

At West Portal Family Dentistry, Drs. Terri Nguyen and Laura Huynh provide comprehensive dental care solutions for patients in and around the area of San Francisco, CA. Our team of professional are dedicated to ensuring patients have access to the treatments they need, including root canal therapy, to save their natural smile. Call our office today to make an appointment at (415) 604-9292 and visit the practice at 26 West Portal Avenue, Suite 4.


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Dr. Nguyen has over 20 years of expertise in the field of dental practice

A graduate from UC San Francisco with a Doctor of Dental Science degree, Dr. Nguyen has over 20 years of expertise in the field of dental practice. She is known for her caring and passionate nature towards her patients whilst having a wealth of knowledge and technical skill.

Dr. Nguyen continues to update herself with newer and tested treatment methods and technology to ensure that she is capable of delivering the best possible service to her clients. Her areas of specialty include root canal therapy, implant dentistry and cosmetic treatment. She is also a prestigious member of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.