Root Canal Therapy

Root canal or endodontic treatment is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The pulp is located inside the hard layers of each tooth and is made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth to grow and develop.

Deep decay, repeated dental procedures, large fillings or any filling placed in closed proximity to the pulp, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth can all cause inflammation or infection of the pulp. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Instead of extracting the tooth, a root canal may be performed in order to remove the infection and return the tooth to a comfortable functioning state that facilitates its preservation,

Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

Signs and symptoms that a root canal is needed:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Severe toothache when pressure is applied or during chewing
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Swelling and tenderness in nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums,
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present!

How is the root canal treatment done?

A root canal treatment may be performed in one or more appointment, depending of the complexity of the canal system, number of canals and the severity of the infection.

  1. The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in a surrounding bone. Different tests may be performed to evaluate the condition of the pulp.
  2. Local anesthesia will be used to numb the area near the tooth. A dental rubber dam is applied around the tooth being treated to protect it from bacteria in your saliva during treatment and to keep the area clean and dry.
  3. An opening is made into the top of the tooth in order to gain access into the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
  4. Very fine dental instrument called files are used in a specific sequence to remove the infected pulp and clean and shape the canals system. Disinfectants are periodically flushed into the canals to remove all the debris.
  5. After the canal has been cleaned, a rubber like material called gutta-percha is placed in the canals to fill and seal them.
  6. The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling at this time.

Remember! (what else you should know)

  • For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved and be controlled by taking pain medication. Most patients can return to normal activities the next day.
  • Avoid chewing firmly or biting hard on the treated tooth until you have had it restored. The tooth is susceptible to fracture and a full restoration must be placed as soon as possible.
  • After a root canal therapy, a crown, crown and post, or other restoration often needs to be placed on the tooth to protect it, to prevent it from breaking and to restore it to full function. Our team will discuss the need for any additional dental work with you.

Root canal retreatment

Most root canal treatments are successful. But in some rare cases, a second root canal treatment is needed. This is called a retreatment. When retreating a tooth, the root canal filling material is taken out, and the canal is recleaned, reshaped and refilled.