Root Canal Therapy

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerve tissue that helps to build the surrounding tooth.

Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling in the cheek or gums, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

How is a root canal performed?

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. We use local anesthesia to eliminate discomfort. Nitrous oxide analgesia is also available if indicated. You should be able to drive after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

1. A Deep Infection

Root canal treatment is needed when the tooth’s root becomes infected or inflamed through injury or advanced decay.

2. A Route to the Root

The tooth is anesthetized. An opening is made through the crown of the tooth to the pulp chamber.

3. Removing the Infected/Inflamed Tissue

Special files are used to clean the infection and unhealthy pulp out of the canals. Irrigation is used to help clean the main canal (called root canals).

4. Filling the Canals

The canals are filled with a permanent material, often gutta-percha. This helps to keep the canals free of infection or contamination.

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5. Rebuilding the Tooth

A temporary filling material is placed on top of the gutta-percha to seal the opening until the tooth is ready to be prepared for a crown.

6. Extra Support

In some cases, a post is placed to give the crown extra support.

7. Crown

A crown, sometimes called a cap, is made to look like a natural tooth, and is placed on top.

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What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as the severity of damage to the affected tooth and which tooth is affected. In general, endodontic treatment is much less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.