Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment, also known as a root canal, removes injured pulp and thoroughly cleans and fills the root canal. Pulp inflammation or infection can be caused by deep decay, numerous dental procedures on a tooth, a heavy blow to the tooth, or a crack or chip. A pulp infection can infect supporting ligaments or create an abscess, so it’s important to have a root canal as soon as possible.

Signs of pulp damage include:

  • swelling or tenderness in the nearby gums
  • pain
  • prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Discoloration of the tooth
  • Sometimes a tooth with infected pulp may show no symptoms

Root Canal Treatment:

  • An X-ray of the tooth will be taken
  • A local anesthetic will be given.
  • Once numb, a protective sheet, known as a dental dam will be placed over the tooth to keep saliva away
  • A small opening is made in the tooth crown
  • Specialized instruments will remove the pulp from the root canal and pulp chamber.
  • The root canal and pulp chamber will be shaped for filling.
  • The root canals and pulp chamber will be filled with a rubbery material called gutta-percha to completely seal the root canal.
  • A temporary filling may be used to close the tooth opening
  • An appointment should be made with the dentist to place a crown or other restoration on the tooth

Success for a root canal is about 90%, but occasionally a tooth may not heal or will develop new problems. In this case, a second root canal treatment may be needed. This involves:

  • Removing any materials previously used to seal the tooth, like a crown, post, or root canal filling
  • Cleaning the root canals and searching for any additional canals that may be present.
  • Filling and sealing the canals.