Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy at Woodard Family Dentistry, also known as endodontic treatment, involves removing the infected or damaged pulp from the inside of a tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and then filling and sealing them to prevent further infection. The pulp is the innermost part of the tooth, consisting of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. When the pulp becomes infected or damaged due to deep decay, cracks, or trauma, it can cause severe pain and lead to abscess formation if left untreated.

When Is Root Canal Therapy Needed?

Root canal therapy is necessary when the pulp inside a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Several factors can contribute to pulp damage, including:

Deep Decay

When cavities are not treated promptly, they can progress deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the pulp and causing infection.

Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Cracks or chips in teeth can expose the pulp to bacteria, leading to infection and inflammation.

Repeated Dental Procedures

Multiple dental procedures on the same tooth can irritate the pulp and increase the risk of infection.


Injury to a tooth, even if there are no visible cracks or chips, can damage the pulp and lead to infection.

Signs and Symptoms

Some common signs and symptoms that could indicate the need for root canal therapy include:

  • Severe toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums
  • Darkening or discoloration of the tooth
  • Persistent or recurring pimples on the gums

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek dental care promptly. Dr. Woodard, our dentist in Spokane Valley, WA, can diagnose the problem and determine if root canal therapy is necessary.

The Root Canal Procedure

Root canal therapy typically involves several steps, which can be completed in one or more visits to Woodard Family Dentistry. Here is an overview of what to expect during the procedure:

Initial Consultation and Diagnosis

During your initial consultation, Dr. Woodard will perform a thorough examination of the affected tooth, including taking X-rays to assess the extent of the damage and determine the best course of action. He will also discuss your symptoms, medical history, and any concerns you may have.


To ensure your comfort throughout the procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the tooth and surrounding area. For patients with dental anxiety, sedation options are available to help them relax.

Accessing the Pulp

Once the area is numb, Dr. Woodard will create a small opening in the crown of the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals.

Removing the Infected Pulp

Using specialized instruments, Dr. Woodard will carefully remove the infected or damaged pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals. This step is crucial to eliminate bacteria and prevent further infection.

Cleaning and Shaping the Canals

After the pulp is removed, the root canals are thoroughly cleaned and shaped to prepare them for filling. Dr. Woodard will use antimicrobial solutions to disinfect the canals and ensure that all bacteria are eliminated.

Filling and Sealing the Canals

Once the canals are cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. This rubber-like material seals the canals and prevents bacteria from re-entering. The access opening in the crown is then sealed with a temporary or permanent filling.


In most cases, a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy will require a crown to restore its strength and function. A crown is a custom-made cap that fits over the tooth, providing protection and support. Dr. Woodard will take impressions of your tooth to create a custom crown, which will be placed at a subsequent appointment.

Aftercare and Recovery

Proper aftercare is essential to ensure a smooth recovery and the success of your root canal therapy. Here are some tips for taking care of your tooth after the procedure:

Manage Pain and Discomfort

It is normal to experience some pain and discomfort after root canal therapy. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage this. Dr. Woodard may also prescribe pain medication if necessary.

Avoid Hard and Chewy Foods

To protect the treated tooth, avoid chewing on hard, crunchy, or sticky foods until the permanent restoration is in place. Stick to soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Continue to brush and floss your teeth regularly, being gentle around the treated tooth. Good oral hygiene is crucial to prevent further infection and maintain overall oral health.

Attend Follow-up Appointments

Follow-up appointments are essential to monitor the healing process and ensure the success of your root canal therapy. Dr. Woodard will schedule these visits to check the treated tooth and place the final restoration. Call us to learn more.

Benefits of Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy can provide numerous benefits, making it a valuable treatment for preserving dental health. Here are some key benefits:

Pain Relief

Root canal therapy effectively alleviates the severe pain caused by infected or damaged pulp. By removing the source of infection, patients can experience immediate relief from discomfort.

Preservation of Natural Teeth

One of the primary goals of root canal therapy is to save the natural tooth. By preserving the tooth, patients can maintain their natural bite and avoid the need for tooth extraction and replacement options like dental implants or bridges.

Prevention of Further Infection

By removing the infected pulp and sealing the root canals, root canal therapy prevents the spread of infection to surrounding teeth and tissues. This helps protect overall oral health and prevent more serious complications.

Restoration of Function and Appearance

A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy can function just like a natural tooth. With the placement of a crown, the tooth is restored to its full strength and appearance, allowing patients to chew and speak comfortably.

Cost-Effective Treatment

Root canal therapy is often more cost-effective than tooth extraction and replacement options. By saving the natural tooth, patients can avoid the higher costs associated with dental implants, bridges, or dentures.


Root canal therapy is a vital dental procedure that can save infected or damaged teeth, providing relief from pain and preventing further complications. At Woodard Family Dentistry in Spokane Valley, WA, Dr. Christopher S. Woodard, DMD, and his team are dedicated to delivering exceptional root canal treatments with compassion and expertise.

By understanding the importance of root canal therapy, recognizing the signs and symptoms of pulp infection, and following proper aftercare, patients can achieve successful outcomes and maintain their natural teeth for years to come. If you are experiencing tooth pain or suspect you may need a root canal, contact Woodard Family Dentistry today to schedule a consultation. Dr. Woodard and his team are here to provide the highest quality dental care and help you achieve optimal oral health.

Are you ready to experience top-quality dental care for your entire family? Visit Dr. Christopher S. Woodard, DMD, at Woodard Family Dentistry, conveniently located at 1020 S Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99206. Don't wait any longer to take care of your oral health. Call us today at (509) 924-8585 to schedule your appointment or to learn more about our comprehensive dental services.

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Spokane Valley, WA

1020 S Pines Rd, Spokane Valley, WA 99206


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