Root Canals - Endodontics

Root canal treatment (endodontics) is about saving teeth, rather than removing them. Root canal therapy treats disorders in the nerve (pulp) of the tooth. It can save a tooth whose pulp, which contains its nerves and blood supply, is diseased or damaged. Pulp disease usually means that the tooth will be lost unless something is done to save it. Root canal therapy involves replacing the diseased pulp with a material that will keep the tooth functional.

Reasons for Root Canals

A damaged or diseased tooth will not heal by itself. Without treatment, the infection can spread to surrounding bone causing further damage. The only alternative is removing the tooth.

Common Factors and Symptoms

  • Trauma such as a physical blow
  • Irritation caused by deep decay
  • Advanced gum disease
  • Pain or throbbing while biting
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Severe decay or an injury that creates inflammation
  • A deep filling that irritates the nerve

Treatment

After examining and taking an X-ray of the tooth, the dentist will determine if a root canal is needed. When the decision for root canal therapy has been made, a series of appointments will be scheduled.

  • First appointment - the diseased pulp will be removed, leaving the canal intact. The canal will be rinsed out, and a medication will be placed inside the canal. A temporary crown will be placed on the tooth.
  • Second appointment - the canal will be sterilized and filled with a permanent material. It's important to follow all of your instructions to avoid complications.

After Care

After the root canal is completed, you may notice a slight discoloration and brittleness in the treated tooth. In most cases, your dentist will recommend that the treated tooth receive a permanent crown. A follow-up exam can monitor tissue healing.

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