Root Canals


“You need a root canal” are probably not the words most of us would like to hear from our dentist. But Dr. Russell would like to remind his Austin, TX, area patients that having a root canal is a common procedure that is no more or less uncomfortable than any other type of dental service. In fact, root canals are often an excellent way to keep a tooth that might otherwise be lost.

What You Should Know about the Root Canals

A root canal may be necessary if a tooth is infected and that infection has spread to the pulp of the tooth. In a root canal procedure, Dr. Russell will begin by completely deadening the tooth and the surrounding gum tissue. Then he will remove both the pulp and the nerve of the tooth. Finally, the tooth is sealed off, and Dr. Russell may elect to add a crown over the top of the tooth to protect it. After the procedure, the tooth will look and function just like all your other teeth.

Signs That You Might Need a Root Canal

Any type of infection is unpleasant, and a tooth with an infected pulp is no exception. People who need a root canal usually know it. Here are a few symptoms that you might experience if you need this procedure:

  • A severe toothache that gets worse when you bite down
  • Painful, red, and/or swollen gum tissue around a certain tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks
  • A tooth that is darkened in color
  • A sore on the gums

In the vast majority of cases, people who need root canals will feel some amount of pain or discomfort before they have the procedure done. But it’s important to remember that you might need a root canal and experience no symptoms whatsoever, although that is rarely the case.

Dear patients and friends,

I have come to a difficult decision to step away from my dental practice after 30 years in Austin and 41 total years of practicing dentistry. I have enjoyed getting to know and treat every one of you making this decision even more difficult. Retirement will open new opportunities for me and my wife Linda, and we wish every patient the best going forward.

Our website has a form for requesting copies of your treatment records, as well as radiographs which you can print, complete, and either mail or email back to me. I will mail or email those copies to you or to your choice of dental offices within 15 days of receipt of the completed request for a nominal fee of $25. I am required by the State Board of Dental Examiners to maintain patient records for 5 years after the last dental visit on record before disposing of them.

Merrill Russell, DDS

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