Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is necessary when a cavity irreversibly injures the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may also cause the nerve to be damaged to the point that it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, bump on the gum, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.

A procedure is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp and soft tissue, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only alternative would be to remove the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually a core build-up (filling) and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy, this provides proper support to the tooth structure.

Root canal treatment is recommended when the interior structure of a tooth is inflamed and infected. Inside each tooth is a chamber-like area called the root canal. This part of dental anatomy consists of cellular material (pulp) and nerve endings. Teeth that are severely decayed, chipped, or cracked can develop infections within the root canal.

A dentist will recommend root canal therapy to prevent the infection from spreading and the need for surgical extraction of a diseased tooth.

Most people can return to work or school the day after receiving root canal treatment. Over the counter medications such as Advil or Tylenol can be used to control discomfort. If you have questions about recovering from a root canal procedure, call our practice.

Although pain is a common indicator of the need for root canal treatment, patients who need root canal therapy may not experience pain at all. Additionally, a toothache subsiding does not always mean that a tooth isn’t in danger. Many times, a lack of noticeable discomfort among patients who need root canals signifies that the infection has killed a tooth’s nerve endings. If your dentist has recommended root canal treatment, it is for good reason. Waiting too long to receive treatment could result in the loss of your tooth.

When teeth are badly diseased or broken, the root canal can become infected. Without treatment, this infection can worsen and spread to neighboring tissue.

Root canal therapy removes the infected tissue within the root canal chamber. The tooth is then cleaned and sealed with a rubber-like compound. This prevents the infection from spreading and stabilizes a tooth so that patients can enjoy comfortable oral function.

Root canal treatment is not an overly lengthy procedure. This treatment can be performed in one or two appointments, normally lasting about 90-minutes each. The number of treatments a person requires will depend on the type of tooth being treated and the severity of its infection.