Root Canal Therapy
Endodontic or root canal therapy is treatment that is meant to save severely decayed or broken teeth. The only alternative to root canal therapy is removing your tooth.
Typically, a patient will notice a gradual ache in a tooth that may require root canal therapy. This tooth will often have severe decay or a very large filling. At first, the pain is sporadic and over time will grow into a throbbing or severe pain that may be felt on other teeth in the area. Occasionally, there is no pain but an abscess is discovered on a routine exam or x-ray.
The root of a tooth contains canals that have nerves and blood vessels that are together called the pulp. When a tooth experiences trauma, has deep decay, or a large leaking filling, the pulp becomes infected. The process of the pulp becoming infected and inflamed is usually what causes a pain. If the infected pulp is not treated, it will die and all the dead pulp tissue which includes the nerves and blood vessels will form an abscess which will destroy the bone that holds the tooth in place. A quickly spreading abscess is very dangerous because it will actually cause swelling to develop in the mouth and around the jaw. The purpose of root canal therapy is to remove all the infected pulp tissue to allow the body to heal the destroyed bone.
After root canal therapy, the tooth will require a permanent restoration (usually a crown) to minimize re-contamination of the pulp space and failure of the treatment. Occasionally, a post is placed into the canal to help build up the tooth before a crown can be placed. We will be more than happy to discuss all the treatment options that would be best for your specific situation.
Decay has traveled through enamel and dentin of the tooth and into the pulp space. An abscess has developed in the bone around the tip of the tooth. The decay is removed and root canal therapy is begun using long files to ensure all the pulp tissue at the tip of the tooth is removed. Once all the dead pulp tissue is removed, the canal space is filled and allowing the abscess to resolve and the bone to heal.
Before and after root canal therapy.
The mouth is a very sensitive place and dental treatment of any kind requires some extra care. The following post treatment instructions are intended to ease discomfort and maximize results.