Root Canal Therapy

If there’s one procedure that gets a bad rap in the dental world, it’s the root canal. In reality, a root canal, a procedure that can save and restore a badly decayed or infected tooth, is actually a relatively easy and painless treatment that can save your natural tooth. The real pain of a root canal stems from the tooth infection itself – a condition that is relieved by the treatment.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal treats infection within the dental pulp. Dental pulp is a soft area in the center of the tooth that is surrounded by harder materials – namely dentin and enamel. Your tooth’s root canals run from the tip of the tooth’s root into the pulp chamber, and contain blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.

When the dental pulp becomes infected or damaged, bacteria begin to form and multiply within the chamber. This bacteria and decay then causes infection in the tooth. It can also cause an abscess, or pus-filled pocket that forms at the tip of the root. This infection can cause pain, swelling, tissue infection which may in turn cause bone loss, and drainage problems.

Prior to the root canal treatment, your endodontist will study the shape of the root canals through X-rays. Once he has determined that you are a candidate for root canal therapy, you’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the infected tooth. Your endodontist then drills a hole into the tooth, and removes decayed tissue and debris from inside the tooth. Once cleaned, the tooth is filled with an inert material and sealed with a filling. Depending on the extent of your problem, your root canal therapy treatment may require one or more appointments.

Once complete, your endodontist or dentist will restore your treated tooth with a crown or other restorative material. Your root canal restoration should enable you to bite, chew and use your tooth as you normally would.