Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy?

A root canal is a treatment process to repair and save a badly damaged tooth that is infected at the root.  There are some common reasons why the root of the tooth would become damaged.  For instance, the tooth may have become chipped or repeated dental work to the tooth.  The process involves removing the badly damaged portion of the root by cleaning and disinfecting it and the filling and sealing the area.  The term “root canal” comes from the process of cleaning the canals on the inside of the tooth’s root.

Do I need  root canal therapy?

Only a dentist will be able to tell you if you need  root canal therapy.  However, if you are experiencing pain in your teeth it may be that you do need a root canal.  According to the American Association of Endodontists, the number one symptom that most patients experience that need a root canal is pain.  If you have a prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold, or if you bit down on food and feel pain then this may be a sign that you need a root canal.  Also, throughout your day you may experience pain in that wavers in intensity or is acute throughout the day.

What is involved in root canal therapy?

There is generally a four-step process to a root canal.  First you will receive an x-ray to determine the extent of the damage and an overall assessment.  The x-ray will better assess what the problem is.  At that point the dentist will be able to determine how to proceed.

You will be given a local anesthesia at the area of infection to numb the sensation.  You should not feel much of anything during the entire process.  In fact, contrary to popular belief a root canal is not much different than getting a cavity drilled and then filled.

If one of the canals of the tooth becomes infected then the process involves the dentist drilling down the canal to the point where the infection is.  The dentist will us a longer drill to go to the base of the root drilling out the pulp of the root.  Then when that process is done and the dentist has gotten all of the infected area out of the root of the tooth, the dentist will fill the area with a gutta-percha material and then it is sealed off with cement.

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