Root Canal Specialist

Decayed or infected teeth can cause severe discomfort and sensitivity. Dr. Samir Halaka, who has offices in Hollywood, CA and Van Nuys, CA, offers root canal procedures to repair and save damaged teeth.

Root Canal Q & A

Endodontic Treatment  

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.

A tooth's nerve is not vitally important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory – to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

Why Does the Pulp Need to Be Removed?

When nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:

  •  Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  •  Bone loss around the tip of the root
  •  Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What Damages a Tooth's Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?

Nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

What Are the Signs that a Root Canal Is Needed?

Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs to look for include:

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums

What Happens During the Procedure?

A root canal requires one or more office visits to our office. The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in a surrounding bone. Dr. Halaka will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. Anesthesia may not be necessary, since the nerve is dead, but most dentists still anesthetize the area to make the patient more relaxed and at ease.

Next, to keep the area dry and free of saliva during treatment, Dr. Halaka will place a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the tooth.

An access hole will then be drilled into the tooth. The pulp along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue and related debris is removed from the tooth. The cleaning out process is accomplished using root canal files. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the access hole and worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Water or sodium hypochlorite is used periodically to flush away the debris.

















Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed. Some dentists like to wait a week before sealing the tooth. For instance, if there is an infection, Dr. Halaka may put a medication inside the tooth to clear it up. Or he may choose to seal the tooth the same day it is cleaned out. If the root canal is not completed on the same day, a temporary filling is placed in the exterior hole in the tooth to keep contaminants out between appointments.

At the next appointment, to fill the interior of the tooth, a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta percha is placed into the tooth's root canal. To fill the exterior access hole created at the beginning of treatment, a filling is placed.

The final step may involve further restoration of the tooth. Because a tooth that needs a root canal often is one that has a large filling or extensive decay or other weakness, a crown, crown and post or other restoration often needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking and restore it to full function. Dr. Halaka will discuss the need for any additional dental work with you.

Accepted Insurance Providers

We accept most HMO and PPO plans. Feel free to contact our office for more information.

Aetna
Anthem Blue Cross
Cigna
Delta Dental
Guardian
Medi-Cal
MetLife
Testimonials

Words from our patients

  • Yelp

    "I highly recommend Dr. Halaka as he is kind, knowledgeable, effective, and non-judgmental. His office staff is also very friendly and helpful."

    Tomas B.
  • Yelp

    "Dr. Halaka has been our family dentist for almost 17 years and going. He is beyond incredible and talented, skilled, and passionate for dentistry!"

    Mereat A.
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