Paul Y. Lin, D.D.S. 82 Townsend Street San Francisco Ca 94107
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With new treatment methods many procedures today are remarkably quick, relatively comfortable, and reasonably stress free.

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Root Canal Therapy

It used to be that if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with advances in dental care and science, and a common procedure called a root canal therapy you may save the tooth you would have otherwise lost.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy refers to the treatment of the inner aspects of a tooth, specifically that area inside a tooth originally occupied by the tooth's "pulp tissue".

Most people would probably refer to a tooth's pulp tissue as its "nerve". While a tooth's pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers, it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue.

Most people are naturally concerned when root canal therapy is recommended. While we are sympathetic to your fears of pain and discomfort, you should understand that root canal therapy has three purposes:

  • Stop the toothache
  • Prevent bacteria and pain from spreading into the jaw
  • Maintain the original tooth instead of replacing it with a denture, bridge, or implant

Most root canal therapy is relatively painless and comfortable today, and can be completed in one to three visits.

Root canals are actually channels that run from the root of the tooth, which connects to the bone, up to the top surface of the tooth. The canal contains blood vessels, nerves and the complex cells that make up the living tissue inside the tooth. This lifeline inside the tooth is called the pulp.

When a tooth is decayed or cracked, bacteria can get to the pulp. The acid from the bacteria irritates the pulp and it becomes inflamed; it's the same process you watch when other parts of your body become infected. When the pulp tissue becomes inflamed, it's harder for blood to flow to the tissue, and the resulting pressure creates pain inside your tooth.

Most root canal therapy is relatively painless and comfortable.

root canal

There are two ways to obtain relief from the pain caused by this type of inflammation: perform the root canal therapy, or extract the tooth. We only extract teeth as a last resort because your natural teeth are the ones best suited for your mouth. We will therefore normally do everything we can to restore your natural tooth if possible.

It's important to have root canal therapy done quickly. The bacteria will travel down the canal to the root and into the jawbone and the infection can cause your jawbone to deteriorate, thus weakening the structure that holds your teeth.


The best way to avoid root canal therapy is to take good daily care of your teeth to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria. Brushing and flossing are important.

Just as important are regular trips to our office and to our hygienist, to check for the first sign of decay or cracks that could eventually lead to an infected tooth.

In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!