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Posts for tag: root canal

By Comprehensive Dental Care
April 13, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

Remembered fondly by fans as the wacky but loveable Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso Ribeiro is currently in his fifth year hosting America's Funniest Videos. It's the perfect gig for the 48-year-old actor, who loves to laugh and make others laugh as well. This is quite the opposite experience from one he had a few years ago that he remembers all too well: a severely decayed tooth.

After seeing his dentist for an intense toothache, Ribeiro learned he had advanced tooth decay and would need root canal treatment. Ribeiro wasn't thrilled by the news. Like many of us, he thought the procedure would be unpleasant. But he found afterward that not only was the root canal painless, his toothache had vanished.

More importantly, the root canal treatment saved his tooth, as it has for millions of others over the last century. If you're facing a situation similar to Alfonso Ribeiro's, here's a quick look at the procedure that could rescue your endangered tooth.

Getting ready. In preparation for root canal therapy, the tooth and surrounding gums are numbed, often first with a swab of local anesthesia to deaden the surface area in preparation for the injection of the main anesthesia below the surface. A dental dam is then placed to isolate the infected tooth from its neighbors to prevent cross-contamination.

Accessing the interior. To get to the infection, a small access hole is drilled. The location depends on the tooth: in larger back teeth, a hole is drilled through the biting surface, and in front teeth, a hole is drilled on the backside. This access allows us to insert special tools to accomplish the next steps in the procedure.

Cleaning, shaping and filling. Small tools are used to remove the diseased tissue from the interior tooth pulp and root canals. Then the empty spaces are disinfected. This, in effect, stops the infection. Next, the root canals inside the tooth are shaped to allow them to better accept a special filling called gutta percha. The access hole is then sealed to further protect the tooth from future infection, and a temporary crown is placed.

A new crown to boot. Within a couple weeks, we'll cap the tooth with a long-lasting lifelike crown (or a filling on certain teeth). This adds further protection for the tooth against infection, helps strengthen the tooth's structure, and restores the tooth's appearance.

Without this procedure, the chances of a tooth surviving this level of advanced decay are very slim. But undergoing a root canal, as Alfonso Ribeiro did, can give your tooth a real fighting chance.

If you would like more information about root canal treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?

By Comprehensive Dental Care
June 17, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Root canals become necessary when the tissues inside of a tooth become infected. A root canal stops this Root_Canalinfection before it spreads further and causes more problems. Many people wonder if there's any outward signs of this infection, and the family dental team at Comprehensive Dental Care in West Hartford, CT, are here to outline some of them.


One of the early signs of damage to a tooth's pulp is a feeling that patients describe as tingling or aching, particularly while eating or drinking things that are hot, cold, or even sweet. Some people even experience this uncomfortable sensation when brushing their teeth or breathing cold air. This is due to the nerves inside of the tooth no longer being insulated like they were when the tooth was healthy. Although tooth sensitivity can happen for a variety of reasons, it's a good indication that you need to be evaluated by your West Hartford family dentist.


Just like sensitivity, dental pain can be a sign that the nerves inside a tooth have been exposed to infection and a root canal is needed. If you have persistent dental pain that's lasted more than a week, it's imperative that you seek treatment from your family dentist at Comprehensive Dental Care in West Hartford. Although root canals have the reputation of being painful, they actually relieve pain by getting rid of the infection.

A blister on the gums

In addition to the two symptoms listed above, you may also need a root canal if you notice a blister-like bump that has formed near the tooth that's been giving you trouble. This is what's known as an abscess, and it's the body's way of trying to purge itself of infection. Abscesses, especially if they're accompanied by swollen gums and a fever, are a sure sign you need to make an appointment with your West Hartford family dentist right away.

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, or you have other dental-related needs, contact Comprehensive Dental Care in West Hartford, CT, to schedule an appointment with one of our family dentists today!


It’s often best health-wise to preserve even the most troubled tooth—including a child’s primary (“baby”) tooth. If that sounds like too much effort for a tooth that lasts only a few years, there’s a big reason why—if it’s lost prematurely, the incoming permanent tooth above it could erupt out of position.

Preserving a decayed primary tooth could include procedures similar to a root canal treatment, commonly used in adult permanent teeth with inner decay. However, we may need to modify this approach to protect the primary tooth’s pulp. This innermost layer plays a critical role in early dental development.

Because an adult tooth has reached maturity, removing diseased pulp tissue has little effect on its permanent health. But the pulp contributes to dentin growth (the layer between it and the outer enamel) in primary and young permanent teeth, so removing it could ultimately compromise the tooth’s long-term health.

Our goal then with a child’s tooth is to remove as much diseased tissue as possible while involving the pulp as little as possible. What techniques we use will depend on how much of the pulp has become infected.

For example, if decay has advanced to but hasn’t yet penetrated the pulp, we may remove all but a small amount of the decayed structure just next to the pulp to avoid its exposure. We may then apply an antibacterial agent to this remaining portion and seal the tooth to curb further infection.

If on the other hand the pulp has become infected, we may try to remove only the infected portion and leave the remaining pulp intact. We’ll only be able to do this, however, if we deem the remaining pulp healthy enough to remain infection-free after the procedure. If not, we may need to remove the entire pulp as with a traditional root canal. This option, though, is a last resort due to the possible effect on dentin growth and the tooth’s long-term health.

As you can see attempts to preserve a primary tooth can be quite involved. But if we can help it reach its full life span, it could mean better dental health for a lifetime.

If you would like more information on caring for primary teeth, 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 “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”

By Comprehensive Dental Care
August 25, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Could this endodontic procedure be exactly what you need to turn your smile around?root canal

We know that no one really likes the idea of a root canal, but sometimes it’s necessary in order to save a tooth and to protect your smile from permanent damage. From the office of our West Hartford, CT, family dentists, find out when root canal therapy might be necessary for you.

What is a root canal?

When your West Hartford, CT, dentists talk about a root canal they are talking about the dental pulp and the roots of the tooth. The dental pulp is an internal structure that lies inside the tooth, which contains nerves and connective tissue. When the health of the pulp is affected it can lead to pain and sensitivity to heat and cold.

Why does someone need to undergo root canal treatment?

There are several reasons why root canal pain develops. If you have decay that reaches the inside of the tooth this can cause an inflamed dental pulp. You may also need root canal therapy if a traumatic injury has led to a deep crack or chip in the tooth. Lastly, an infection or disease can also infect the dental pulp.

There are many reasons why a dental pulp may need to be removed. If you are experiencing a toothache this is the number one sign that you may need root canal therapy. A toothache is considered a dental emergency that will need to be treated right away to prevent further complications.

What are some signs that you need root canal therapy?

Symptoms can fluctuate from person to person but you may require root canal treatment if:

  • You have severe dental pain when chewing or biting down
  • You have tooth sensitivity to hot or cold that doesn’t go away
  • You have swelling or gum soreness near the affected tooth
  • The tooth starts to darken
  • A pus-filled pimple develops on the gums

Whether you have questions about the services we offer or you just want to schedule a consultation with us, Comprehensive Dental Care in West Hartford, CT, is here to serve you. Call our office today!

By Comprehensive Dental Care
August 21, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal   laser dentistry  

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.