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 or nerve, bacteria, and decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special medicated dental materials that 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 pulling a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for the adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and can last a lifetime, although on occasion a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
Reasons for root canal therapy:
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 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 removing any infected tissue. If decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or if additional appointments are needed, a temporary medicated filling will be placed. After the root canal is completed a filling is placed in the opening to the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have had root canal therapy require a crown. 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.