Root Canal Treatment

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a valuable dental procedure used to treat and preserve natural teeth with inflamed or infected roots. The pulp is the tissue within the center of the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Damage to the pulp can occur from deep cavities, cracks, trauma or repeated dental procedures. A damaged pulp can result in inflammation and infection causing patients to experience pain and swelling, and if left untreated can result in loss of the tooth.

Root canal treatment removes the damaged parts of the tooth as well as the inflamed or infected tissue from the center of the roots, alleviating pain and resolving infection while preserving the natural tooth.

To structurally protect and restore the tooth to full function a protective restoration is placed on the tooth following root canal treatment.  This protective restoration is commonly placed by the patients restorative dentist who are experts in restoring teeth with fillings and crowns. 

Root canal treatment is most commonly performed in one or two visits. The number of visits and time required for treatment depends on your particular case. The root canal procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Administration of a local anesthetic to anesthetize the area of treatment. After the tooth is numb, a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” is placed over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva and bacteria during the procedure.
  2. An opening in created in the crown of the tooth and very small instruments are used to clean and disinfect the natural space inside the roots of the tooth. 
  3. After the space is cleaned and disinfected, a biocompatible filling is placed within the root canals, most commonly a rubbery-like material called “gutta-percha” and bioceramic cement to seal of the root canal space. A filling is placed to close the opening. In many cases this will be a permanent filling. If a temporary filling is placed then it will be removed by your dentist to allow placement of a permanent protective restoration for the tooth.

Endodontic Presentation

To provide you with a better understanding of endodontic therapy, we have provided the following multimedia presentation. Many common questions pertaining to root canals are discussed.

Endodontic Presentation

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal treatment has been completed, a record of your treatment with x-rays will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for placement of a protective restoration following completion of root canal treatment. Your restorative dentist, who are experts in restoring teeth with fillings and crown, will determine the type of restoration that is best to protect your tooth.