Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is an often straightforward procedure to relieve dental pain and save your teeth. Patients typically need a root canal when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth. During treatment, we carefully remove the pulp inside the tooth, cleans, disinfects and shapes the root canals, and places a filling to seal the space.

Why Does Tooth Pulp Need to Be Removed?

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:  Embed Asset Override  

  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  • Bone Loss around the tip of the root
  • Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?

A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

When Is Treatment Needed?

Usually, root canals are recommended or needed when there is an infection deep within the tooth. The pulp inside the tooth can become infected with bacteria because of an injury or because of a severe, untreated cavity. Without treatment, the infection can become severe enough that the tooth has to be removed.

What are the steps?

Root canal therapy is done in three steps, and it takes between one and three sessions to complete.

1. Cleaning the root canal

First, the we remove everything that is inside the root canal.

With the patient under local anesthesia, the we make a small access hole on the surface of the tooth and removes the diseased and dead pulp tissue with very small files.

2. Filling the root canal

Next, the we clean, shape and decontaminate the hollow area, using tiny files and irrigation solutions. Then, the tooth is filled with a rubber-like material, using an adhesive cement to seal the canals completely.

After root canal therapy, the tooth is dead. The patient will no longer feel any pain in that tooth because the nerve tissue has been removed, and the infection has been eliminated.

3. Adding a crown or filling

However, the tooth will be now more fragile than it was before. A tooth with no pulp must receive its nourishment from the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone. This supply is adequate, but in time, the tooth will become more brittle, so a crown or filling offers protection.

Until the crown or filling is complete, the patient should not chew or bite on the tooth. Once there is a crown or filling is done, the person can use the tooth as before.

Treatment often takes only one appointment, but if there are curved canals, multi-canals, or large infections, this could take one or two additional appointments.

Prevention

To prevent infections, tooth decay, and gum disease, dentists recommend:

  • brushing teeth last thing at bedtime and at least one other time each day
  • using toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • using a suitable toothbrush and replacing it regularly
  • attending regular dental checkups and cleanings
  • flossing to clean between the teeth and prevent the buildup of plaque
  • avoiding sugary drinks and foods, and following a healthy diet.

Dental sealants can also prevent decay.