Root Canal Therapy

What is a root canal?

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 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 of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical root canal 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. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine.

tooth after endodontic treatmentWhat happens after treatment?

Please refer to our post operative instruction sheet, that was given at the time of treatment. If you have misplaced this sheet you can go to our Instructions after treatment page.  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, call our office for a follow up visit. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.


How do I know if I need a root canal?

There are quite a few symptoms that may indicate that you need a root canal. Sharp pain when biting down, lingering pain, typically lasting more than 30 seconds, after eating or drinking something hot or cold. Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gums and sensitivity to touch. Dull aching and pressure in teeth or jaw. There can be temporary discomfort after fillings and crowns that may reverse its self after a week or two. Trauma can damage the pulp of a tooth and you may not show any signs or symptoms for years after. Sometimes an Endodontist will have you wait and watch a certain area, if they were unable to localize where the discomfort is coming from, or if the discomfort does not seem to be enough at the evaluation to do treatment.  Loose fillings and crowns can also let bacteria in, sometime you will HAVE to get a new crown, no matter how long you may have had it, because it is not fitting properly and has let bacteria in causing the need for a root canal or root canal retreatment. Ultimately, the need for a root canal is caused by bacteria finding its way into the tooth, this can happen to anyone.