ROOT CANAL THERAPY - Restore your tooth or teeth to its full function
Root canal therapy is required when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. Treatment to save the tooth involve, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay to be removed and the resulting space to be filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Root canal treatment is an elective procedure and is the choice of many to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be extracted (pulled). Although a number of patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, what is not realized is that extracting a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for neighboring 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.
Symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe and prolonged toothache pain
- Sometimes there are no symptoms
- Swelling and/or tenderness of the area
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- Infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
What does root canal therapy involve?
Root canal procedures are performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist), and most often require one or more appointments.
While the tooth and surrounding area are numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. A small opening is made on top of the tooth and a number of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If there appears to be any tooth decay, it will also be removed during the procedure.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are necessary, a temporary filling will be positioned.
During the following appointment, typically 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 positioned over the opening on top of the tooth. Additionally, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This helps to protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, as well as restore it to its full function.
After your treatment you may still experience some tooth sensitivity, but this will diminish as the inflammation lessens and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment. It is important to remember that good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will benefit in the life of your root canal treatment.