Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is required when the nerve of a tooth is invaded by infection and decay. In order to save the tooth, the nerve or pulp tissue, decay, and any bacteria are removed and the existing space is filled with special medicated, sterile dental fillers, which restore the tooth to its complete function.
Having a root canal performed on a tooth is the treatment of choice to keep a tooth that otherwise would become infected and have to be extracted. Many patients believe that extracting a tooth that has been compromised is the sole solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will be more costly in the long run and result in significant problems for nearby teeth.
Root canal treatment can last a lifetime and is highly successful. Although periodically, a tooth will have to be remedicated or retreated due to new infections.
What are potential signs and symptoms for root canal therapy?
- Sensitivity to cold and hot.
- Tenderness and/or swelling.
- An abscess (or fistula) on the gums.
- Strong toothache pain.
- Sometimes no symptoms are present.
What are reasons for root canal therapy?
Abscess or infection has developed within the tooth or at the tip of the root.
- Decay has entered the tooth pulp (the vital tissue within the tooth).
- Trauma or injury to the tooth.
What does a root canal involve?
A root canal procedure consists of one or more visits and can be treated by a general dentist or an endodontist (a root canal specialist).
On certain occasions, to keep the tooth isolated and free of saliva, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth. An small opening is made on top of the tooth and a selection of root canal files are inserted into the opening, one at a time, removing the nerve tissue, pulp, and bacteria. At the same time, any tooth decay or fracture will be removed.
Once the tooth is completely sterilized, it will be sealed with either a temporary filling, if additional visits are needed, or a final restoration will be placed.
In addition, most teeth that have had root canal treatment should have a cap (crown) placed. This will prevent it from cracking, protecing the tooth, and restore it to its complete function.
After RCT treatment, the tooth could still be sensitive for several days, but this will subsist as the tooth heals and the inflammation decreases.
Our staff will give you care instructions after each visit. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene practices assist in the life of your root canal treatment.