Root Canals
Orinda, CA

endodontic therapy

A root canal is a very common dental procedure performed in order to help save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants and bridges.

At the center of each of your teeth is the dental pulp (tooth nerve).  Infection of the dental pulp can be very painful and is caused by a variety of factors including: trauma, deep cavities, cracks in the tooth, or repeated dental procedures.

If you do find yourself with a painful toothache, we encourage you to call our dental office right away. An infected tooth that is not treated can only result in bigger problems. Contact Orinda Family Dentistry at (925) 253-0165 for prompt and comfortable emergency care.

root canal purpose

The nerve of a tooth functions to provide hot and cold sensation, but other than that, it is not necessary to the tooth’s overall health and function.   

If a tooth has a large cavity or is cracked, bacteria can enter the dental pulp and cause an infection.  If not treated, that infection can cause an abscess, resulting in pain, swelling, and further deterioration of the tooth.  Not only can the infected tissue injure your jawbones and surrounding teeth, it can also be detrimental to your overall health.

root canal symptoms

Teeth that need root canal therapy are not always painful, but common symptoms of an infected pulp include: biting pain, visible swelling, obvious damage or decay to the tooth, temperature sensitivity, lingering or spontaneous pain, discoloration of the tooth, discomfort that wakes you up in the middle of the night, or tenderness in the neighboring gums.


Root canal treatment is completed utilizing local anesthesia where the doctor removes the diseased nerve from the tooth.  After the infected tissue is removed, the tooth is cleaned and sealed.  Next, the tooth is built up with white filling material.  A crown is typically placed over the large filling in order to protect the tooth and help prevent future breakage.

While many teeth can be saved with root canal therapy, some teeth do require extraction if the chances of success with endodontic treatment are unfavorable or if complications become evident during or after treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Root Canals Orinda, CA

How do you know if you need a root canal?

There are several signs that may indicate you need a root canal, including:

  • Persistent pain | If you experience a severe and persistent toothache that doesn’t go away, it may be a sign of a tooth infection that requires a root canal.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold | If you experience sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lingers even after the source of the temperature change is removed, it may be a sign of nerve damage or infection that requires a root canal.
  • Swelling and tenderness | Swelling, tenderness, or even a small bump on your gums near the affected tooth may be a sign of a dental abscess, which requires immediate attention and likely a root canal.
  • Discoloration | If you notice that a tooth has become discolored or darkened, it may be a sign of nerve damage that requires a root canal.
  • Loose tooth | If a tooth becomes loose, it may be a sign of advanced decay or infection that has weakened the tooth’s roots, which can often be treated with a root canal.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to give Orinda Family Dentistry a call as soon as possible. Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon will examine your tooth and determine if a root canal is necessary to save the tooth and prevent further complications.

If you’re looking for a root canal dentist near you, you’re in the right place! Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon specialize in root canals and are conveniently located right here in Orinda. We reserve space on our schedule for emergency dental appointments, so if you need an emergency root canal near you, we’ll make sure to get you in ASAP!

After an emergency root canal procedure, it is normal to experience some pain and discomfort for a few days. However, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms and promote healing:

  • Apply ice packs | Applying an ice pack to your cheek for 10-15 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and numb the area. Do not apply ice directly to your skin; wrap it in a cloth or towel first.
  • Rest and avoid strenuous activity | Resting and avoiding strenuous activity can help your body heal faster and reduce pain.
  • Eat soft foods | Eating soft foods like soup, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs can help you avoid putting pressure on the affected tooth while it heals.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene | Brush and floss gently around the affected tooth to keep the area clean and promote healing.
  • Take any prescribed medications | If Dr. Sandhu or Dr. Dhillon prescribed antibiotics or other medications, be sure to take them as directed.

If you experience severe pain, swelling, or bleeding after a root canal procedure, or if your symptoms do not improve after a few days, please contact Orinda Family Dentistry and we will address your concerns right away.

Root canal recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the infection, the complexity of the procedure, and the individual’s overall health. In general, it’s common to experience some pain and discomfort for a few days after the procedure.

Most people are able to return to their normal activities, including work or school, within a day or two after the procedure. However, it is recommended to avoid strenuous physical activity for a few days and to eat soft foods to avoid putting pressure on the affected tooth.

Common symptoms of root canal recovery include:

  • Swelling and tenderness around the affected tooth or in the jaw area
  • Mild to moderate pain or discomfort, which can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, which may persist for a few days or weeks

In most cases, the tooth will feel completely normal within a few days to a week after the root canal procedure. It’s important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and to address any concerns or issues that may arise.

A root canal crown, also known as a dental crown, looks like a natural tooth and is typically made of ceramic, porcelain, or a combination of materials such as porcelain fused to metal. The crown is placed over the remaining portion of the natural tooth after a root canal procedure to protect the tooth and restore its shape and function.

The crown is custom-made to match the shape, size, and color of your natural teeth and is designed to blend in seamlessly with your smile. Dr. Sandhu or Dr. Dhillon will take impressions of your teeth to ensure that the crown fits perfectly and looks natural.

Root canal crowns typically cover the entire tooth, from the gum line to the top of the tooth. They are often used to restore damaged or decayed teeth or to protect weak or cracked teeth from further damage.

Once the crown is placed, it is cemented onto the remaining portion of the natural tooth and becomes a permanent part of your smile. With proper care, a root canal crown can last for many years and provide a natural-looking and durable solution for restoring your smile.

Avoiding a root canal involves maintaining good oral hygiene and taking care of your teeth and gums. Here are some hygiene tips that can help you avoid a root canal:

  • Brush twice a day | Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. This helps to remove plaque and prevent tooth decay.
  • Floss daily | Flossing helps to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gum line. This can help prevent cavities and gum disease.
  • Use mouthwash | Mouthwash helps to kill bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after brushing and flossing.
  • Avoid sugary and acidic foods | Sugary and acidic foods can erode the enamel on your teeth, leading to decay and the need for a root canal. Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods, and brush your teeth after eating them.
  • Wear a mouth guard | If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from damage.
  • See your dentist regularly | Visit a dentist for regular checkups and cleanings every six months. Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon can detect early signs of decay or gum disease and treat them before they become more serious problems.

By following these hygiene tips, you can help prevent the need for a root canal and maintain a healthy smile.

While root canal procedures are often the best option for saving a severely damaged or infected tooth, there are a few alternatives to root canals that may be considered depending on the individual case. These alternatives include:

  • Antibiotics | If the infection is caught early enough, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight the infection and prevent the need for a root canal. However, antibiotics alone cannot treat an infected root canal, so this is not a long-term solution.
  • Pulp capping | In some cases, if the decay has not reached the pulp or nerve of the tooth, Dr. Sandhu or Dr. Dhillon may be able to perform a pulp capping procedure. This involves placing a medicated filling over the exposed area of the pulp to help it heal and protect it from further damage.
  • Extraction | If the damage or infection is too severe, the tooth may need to be extracted. This is typically considered a last resort option as losing a tooth can cause other dental problems, such as shifting of neighboring teeth or bone loss.

It’s important to note that while these alternatives may be considered in some cases, a root canal is often the most effective way to save a damaged or infected tooth and prevent the need for an extraction. If you’re experiencing dental pain or other symptoms, please call Orinda Family Dentistry right away and Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon will be able to determine the best course of treatment for your individual case.

Many people ask if root canals are painful. The answer is that while the procedure itself is not painful, some patients may experience some discomfort or sensitivity during or after the procedure.

During a root canal procedure, Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon will numb the area around the affected tooth with a local anesthetic. This helps to prevent pain during the procedure. Some patients may feel a slight pressure or vibration during the procedure, but it should not be painful.

After the procedure, it is common to experience some discomfort or sensitivity in the treated tooth for a few days. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Dr. Sandhu and Dr. Dhillon may also prescribe medication if necessary.

Overall, while a root canal procedure may be uncomfortable or cause some sensitivity, it should not be painful. The benefits of saving a damaged or infected tooth through a root canal procedure far outweigh any temporary discomfort.