A root canal treatment is done to save a tooth that is significantly decayed, infected, or inflamed.
The procedure is performed by a licensed endodontist in four steps:
- The endodontist makes a small opening on the biting surface of the tooth to access the inflamed or infected pulp.
- The affected pulp is removed from the tooth’s root canal with specialized tools and the area is then disinfected.
- The root canals are filled with an inert material such as resilon or gutta-percha.
- A crown is usually placed on the tooth to increase the chances of long-term success.
If a tooth is decayed, cracked or infected to the extent that fillings or other general dentistry interventions are not enough to save it, a root canal will be recommended.
We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “I’d rather have a root canal” when someone is presented with an unpleasant proposal. You may have even used it yourself. Root canals are one of dentistry’s most feared procedures, stereotyped through the years as being excruciatingly painful with patients remaining sore for weeks afterward.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Through a combination of local anesthetic and pain control medication, pain can almost always be managed effectively. In fact, many patients are surprised at just how quick and comfortable the entire experience can be.
Root canals are highly reliable and successful procedures. It’s most likely that one or two office visits is all you’ll need.
However, since all people and all teeth are different, there is a slight chance that follow-up treatment may be necessary. If the first root canal is unsuccessful, a root canal retreatment may be performed to clear up any remaining infections or abscesses.
In special cases, an apicoectomy may be necessary to save the tooth.