Root Canal Therapy
While we don't perform root canals in our office, we want to make sure you are well informed of the procedure and will refer you to an endodontist if it is indicated.
Root canals are the thin passages within the roots of the tooth that run from a central chamber located in the middle of the tooth to the tip of the root of your tooth. The root canals and central chamber (pulp chamber) contain a soft tissue called pulp which contains the nerves and blood supply for the tooth. The pulp may become compromised in a variety of ways, most commonly as a result of untreated decay. Because the pulp contains nerve fibers, damage to this area is often accompanied by varying amounts of pain. Root canal therapy results in the removal of this pulp.
Root canal therapy not only preserves your dental and oral health, but also may improve the appearance of teeth darkened by infection. In teeth with an unhealthy pulp, root canal therapy is the only way to allow a tooth to be saved, and so avoid costly tooth replacement options.
Aren't Root Canals Painful?
Many people are concerned by the potential of pain during and after a root canal procedure. While the historical reputation of this procedure evokes fear in many people, the truth is that modern treatment modalities are very atraumatic and most patients experience little, if any, discomfort.
After sufficiently and profoundly numbing the area, the doctor creates an access opening in the surface of the tooth. Any decayed or infected hard and soft tissue is then removed. An instrument called a root canal file is used to remove the pulp from within the thin canals and to shape the canals so they can be more easily cleaned and filled. Magnifying equipment is used to aid in the procedure.
Next, after the root canals have been cleaned and shaped, they are filled being careful to avoid any holes or voids.
A final filling, such as those used to fix cavities, is applied to the surface of the tooth to seal the root canals and fill in the initial access hole that was made. In most cases, a crown is placed after a sufficient amount of time has elapsed to ensure that the root canal therapy was successful. The crown serves as a protective covering or cap encompassing the entire tooth to help guard against tooth fractures.