Root canal therapy is
needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In
order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth),
nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is
filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the
tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done
on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise
would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a
tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is
that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and
cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is
highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a
tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
Sensitivity to hot and cold.
Severe toothache pain.
Sometimes no symptoms are present.
Reasons for root canal therapy:
Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
Injury or trauma to the tooth.
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure
requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or
endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a
rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep
it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the
tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one
at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth
decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental
Once the tooth is
thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling
or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be
At the next appointment,
usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will
be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be
placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth
that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This
will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to
its full function.
After treatment, your
tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation
diminishes and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good
oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life
of your root canal treatment.
You are welcome to schedule an appointment today!