Root Canal Treatment
A root canal is a procedure done when there is inflammation or infection in the roots of a tooth, which can be painful. The procedure involves an endodontist, who specializes in root canal treatments, carefully removes the pulp inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfects the area, then places a filling to seal the space and prevent further infection.
Check out the American Association of Endodontics website to learn more.
- An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
- The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
- The infected area is medicated.
- The root canals are filled.
- The crown opening is filled with a temporary.
Why a root canal?
A root canal is typically needed when the bast of a tooth root begins to abscess. One cause of a tooth root abscess is if a cavity goes untreated, it becomes larger and larger which lets bacteria continue eating its way down to the base of the tooth. Once the cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth, an infection forms at the base of the root, causing an abscess. This abscess is generally painful and a root canal works to remove the infected pulp and abscess.
Root Canal FAQ's
What is a root canal?
"Endo" is the Greek word for "inside" and "odont" is Greek for "tooth." Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is one type of endodontic treatment.
To understand endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.
The pulp extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the roots where it connects to the tissues surrounding the root. The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay repeated dental procedures on the tooth or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury 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.
There are a few symptoms that mean you might need a root canal:
- Severe pain while chewing or biting
- Pimples on the gums
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the sensation has been removed
- Swollen or tender gums
- Deep decay or darkening of the gums
How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Will I feel pain during or after the root canal?
Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.
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 with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully.
Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.