Endodontic treatment, also known as root canal therapy, is a procedure that is intended to save a tooth that has become abscessed (non-vital), hyper-sensitive due to certain conditions of the tooth or as a result of trauma.
Root canal therapy has changed dramatically in recent years as new technology and procedures have become available.
If you have never experienced a root canal procedure or if it has been many years since your last procedure you may have questions or outdated expectations. Root canal treatment can be done in one appointment instead of multiple appointments as in the past. Treatment can also be done faster, more accurately and without discomfort due to new technology.
Our website should help you answer many of your questions; however you may also contact our office and speak with one of our dental professionals personally regarding any questions or concerns.
Non-surgical Endodontic Treatment
A root canal procedure is performed with local anesthetic much like any dental procedure. If the nerve inside of the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged or infected, root canal treatment becomes necessary to save the tooth. This usually occurs because bacteria has entered the pulp also known as the nerve of the tooth. The root canal procedure involves removing the entire pulp from the inside of the canal , cleaning and contouring the canals, then placing a permanent filling material called gutta percha into the prepared canals. Following root canal therapy it is necessary to return to your general dentist to have the tooth permanently restored.
The Root Canal Procedure
Once the tooth is fully numb, a small access opening is made into the pulp chamber through the chewing surface of the tooth. The canals are located and measured using various instruments and digital x-rays.
Once accurate measurements of the canal lengths have been determined, the canals are cleaned, reshaped and prepared with the permanent filling material. A digital x-ray will be taken to confirm the filling material is exactly in place.
The filling material inside the canal is then heated and formed to the canal shape which will be the permanent replacement for the nerve inside the tooth. A sterile cotton pellet and temporary filling are placed in the access opening of the tooth and will need to be replaced with a permanent restoration by the patient’s general dentist. The general dentist will determine what type of replacement will be used and may include a core build-up, post, and crown. This permanent restoration will protect the natural tooth to insure a positive prognosis.
After the root canal therapy any areas of infection around the roots of the tooth will begin to heal.