What is Root Canal Therapy?
When the nerve of a tooth becomes infected or abscessed, endodontic treatment, “root canal therapy” may be needed.
A tooth can become abscessed as a result of deep decay or trauma to the tooth. Sometimes, endodontic therapy is done electively as part of a long-term treatment plan to assist in improving the predictability of outcome for some dental procedures. The only alternative to Root Canal Therapy is an Extraction.
Root canals are commonly done in one or two visits, depending on the health of the pulp at the beginning of the procedure.
During Root Canal Therapy, the tooth is numbed like for other procedures. The pulp of the tooth is removed, and the empty root canal is cleaned thoroughly with medications designed to dissolve left over pulp tissue and kill infection. A rubber is placed in the roots where the unhealthy nerve was.
After a root canal procedure is done, the tooth needs to be restored properly. Sometimes a temporary filling material is placed over cotton until a more definitive restoration can be completed. Since teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy are more brittle than normal teeth, they must be restored with either a bonded filling or a core build-up followed by a crown, depending on the function and location of the tooth. The tooth is cared for in the same way as other natural teeth. Brush and floss daily, and visit your dentist for regular preventative dental check-ups.
The number of visits necessary to complete a root canal varies depending on the degree of infection, the number of canals in the tooth, if the canals are calcified, the anatomy of the tooth, and the complexity of the procedure.
Root canals may be done by a general dentist like Dr. Huff, or a referral may be made to a root canal specialist, called an endodontist.