you have been told that a root canal is necessary to save one of your teeth,
it is important that you understand why this procedure is necessary and what
happens during root canal treatment.
Root canal treatment (endodontics) treats disorders
of the nerve (also called the pulp) of the tooth
It used to be that a tooth with a diseased or infected
nerve in it had to be removed. In 95 percent of
the cases today, however, this is no longer true.
We believe in saving teeth (instead of removing
What Makes a Root Canal Necessary?
The following are the most common factors contributing
to a need for root canal treatment:
- Traumas, such as a physical
blow to a tooth
- Physical irritation
caused by a deep decay or a very large filling
- Severe gum disease
of the initial cause, the tooth pulp becomes
and infected. Bacteria grows within the tooth pulp,
causing pressure and if a cavity forms and is
allowed to go untreated for too long, it can
to the root pulp where and infection can occur
pain, sometimes accompanied by swelling of the
face. Sometimes the deterioration of the pulp happens
so gradually that little pain is felt. Regardless
of the amount of pain felt, eventually the bacteria
can destroy the pulp. As this happens, the bone
surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed,
which may lead to the destruction of the bone surrounding
What Happens During Treatment?
If we determine through x-rays and a clinical examination
that root canal treatment is necessary, we will
schedule a series of appointments for you. It is
important that you keep these appointments to prevent
delays in treatment and healing which can affect
the outcome. It is also essential that you take
all antibiotics and medications prescribed to hasten
healing and reduce swelling.
1. First, we want to relieve any discomfort you
might be experiencing and ensure your comfort throughout
the treatment. When the root pulp is affected in
this way, the root can become abscessed, causing
swelling and pain.
When necessary, an anesthetic is used to numb the
tooth and surrounding area. The tooth may be isolated
with a rubber dam, which confines the treatment
area and protects the mouth from bacteria and chemical
agents. An opening is made through the crown of
the tooth into the pulp.
carefully remove the diseased pulp. The root
canal area inside your tooth is cleaned, enlarged
and shaped. Then, depending on your individual
case, the root canal and pulp chamber may be permanently
filled and sealed. In some cases, we place a temporary
medication in the tooth to control bacterial growth
and reduce infection.
3. A temporary filling is placed in the opening
of the tooth until the next visit. In some cases,
the tooth may be left open in order to allow the
infection to drain. We will decide what is right
for your case and do whatever is necessary to assure
4. At the next appointment, we sterilize the inside
of the tooth to remove the bacteria. Throughout
the root canal procedure, we take x-rays to ensure
that all of the infected pulp is removed and that
the wails inside the canal are smooth.
5. To complete the process, the root canal and
pulp chamber are permanently filled and sealed.
6. Finally, the tooth is fully restored to chewing
What Care Follows the Treatment?
Once the root canal treatment has been completed,
you should consider the following:
1. Brittleness a non-vital (endodontically treated)
tooth is more brittle than a vital one and is more
susceptible to fracture.
Therefore, in most cases, we recommend that your
root canal tooth be crowned (capped) following
2. Discoloration you may notice that your endodontically
treated tooth (especially a front tooth) has undergone
a change in color. Though this discoloration is
of no medical concern, you may be interested in
having the teeth whitened. Be sure to ask us about
tooth whitening if we do not decide to place a
crown on the tooth.