Root canal therapy can save a tooth that would otherwise die as a result of infection or decay that has reached the tooth’s nerve. Preserving your natural teeth is always the ideal outcome in a dental procedure. You avoid the issues associated with the loss of a tooth, retain the ability to bite and chew properly, and keep your smile full and beautiful. While it may sometimes seem a fast solution to the unbearable pain of your toothache, the problems associated with extraction can become serious and costly in the long run.
During root canal therapy, the infected pulp of the tooth is removed. The inside space is cleaned, shaped, and filled with special medicated dental materials, restoring the tooth to full function. This treatment has a success rate of over 90%. The results will last a lifetime, giving you the use of your tooth for the rest of your life without any further issue. Advances in dental medicine make this procedure more efficient and more comfortable than it ever was in the past.
Signs that suggest root canal therapy may be necessary include:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache
- Swelling or tenderness in the area
- An abscess on the gum
How is the procedure done?
Root canal therapy is usually completed in a single appointment. It may be performed by your dentist or by a specialist called an endodontist.
Your dentist will numb the tooth and place a rubber dam around the tooth to keep it dry and isolated. An access opening will be created on the surface of the tooth, allowing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria inside to be removed with specialized tools. The root canal (or canals) will be thoroughly cleaned and shaped to ensure there is no lingering infection, and then filled and sealed with a permanent filling.
Once the procedure is finished, a temporary crown will be placed over the tooth to protect it from damage. A permanent crown can then be made to return your tooth to its full function.
What kind of follow-up care should I expect?
Many patients experience a sensitivity to hot and cold immediately following root canal therapy. As the inflammation subsides and your tooth heals, this effect will diminish. You will be provided with care instructions throughout the process. It is important to keep up with good oral hygiene at home and make sure to keep up with regular dental visits. As with all restorative treatments, the results of root canal therapy can last a lifetime, and will only have to be retreated due to new infections.