Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy or endodontics is treatment used to repair and save a tooth that has become infected due to a deep cavity or cracked tooth. The treatment involves removing the pulp and the nerves of the tooth, and cleaning the infected area. A tooth's pulp and nerve is not important to a tooth's health and function after the tooth has fully emerged from the gums. If the treatment is not performed, pus builds up at the root tip and the infection of the pulp can spread to the surrounding bone. This results in pain and swelling; your tooth would likely have to be removed.

What are the signs that a root canal is needed?

  • Severe tooth pain while chewing
  • Your tooth pain wakes you up at night
  • Teeth that are highly sensitive to hot or cold, with the sensitivity lingering for some time.
  • Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
  • Swollen gums in the area of the infected tooth

What does the treatment involve?

First, the dentist numbs the area and tooth. Then an opening is made into the pulp chamber through the crown of the tooth. Once the pulp is removed, the root canal is thoroughly cleaned. Then the root canal is filled with a plastic type filling material to seal the canal so that bacteria from either your mouth or in the bone won't reinfect the tooth.

A post is then cemented into the biggest root canal to reinforce the tooth. This is called a post and core. Finally, a crown is put on the tooth to stabilize the tooth long term.

Root canal therapy has a high rate of success as many teeth undergoing this procedure can be saved and will last a lifetime. Additionally, the crown placed at the completion of this procedure makes it hard to notice that you had the treatment.