Root Canal Therapy
When a tooth’s pulp has been damaged, it may be necessary to perform a root canal. Root canal therapy is the removal of the tooth pulp, a small, thread-like tissue in the center of the tooth. Once the damaged, diseased or dead pulp is removed, the remaining space is cleaned, shaped and filled. This procedure seals off the root canal and can save the tooth. Years ago, a tooth with diseased or injured pulp would have to be removed. Now, with the advancements of dentistry, root canal treatment can save many teeth that would otherwise be lost.
The most common causes of pulp damage are:
If the tooth pulp becomes damaged through injury or disease and cannot repair itself, bacteria can infect the pulp and cause it to die. If a root canal procedure is not performed, an abscess can form at the tip of the root and cause considerable pain, potentially damaging the jaw. Without root canal therapy, the tooth may have to be extracted. Clearly, preventive dentistry is best, but even a root canal is preferable to extraction.
Root canal therapy requires two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic and isolate the tooth from saliva. An opening is made through the top of the tooth, the pulp is removed, and then the root is cleaned and shaped. Medication will be added to the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help eliminate bacteria. A temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to keep saliva out. Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is present and has spread beyond the end of the root(s). During the second appointment, the temporary filling is removed and the root canal is filled and permanently sealed.
If the dentist has recommended this procedure during a consultation or exam, it is important to proceed with the treatment plan and avoid creating other complications. Contact us today to set up your next appointment.