Root canal therapy is used to correct dental pulp disorders, or disorders dealing with the soft tissue inside the tooth. Decay and infection can affect the nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue of the tooth and it can result in needing a root canal. In the past, decayed teeth were typically removed from the mouth through corrective therapy.
Removing teeth completely is actually more costly and can cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Now, new technologies can save the natural tooth in most cases. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.
Signs and symptoms:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
- Swelling and/or tenderness
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
Treatment begins with the initial removal of the tooth crown, or top, to allow access to the pulpal tissue. The tooth is numbed and a rubber dam is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. An opening is made on the top of the tooth and the affected pulpal tissue is exposed and removed. The area surrounding and containing the pulpal tissue is carefully cleaned, enlarged, and shaped to provide a clean, bondable surface for filling. After the filling is placed, a crown is fabricated to complete the rescue and restoration of the natural tooth.
The next appointment is typically a week later and will involve the filling of the roots and inside cavity of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function. After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. Proper home care instructions will be provided to address hygiene, eating habits and follow-up visits to Vista Dental Care and Specialty Center.