Root Canal Procedure
What Is Root Canal
Here is a popular subject! Everyone loves a good Root Canal! (dentally known as Endodontic Therapy). I know, the minute you hear the word “root canal” you are sweating because you have heard many horror stories. IGNORE THEM! Dr. O. calls root canals an “Advil event” because most are no more difficult than having a filling placed. Although your friends, family or co-workers mean well, most of them are misinformed on modern root canal treatments. Dr. Offenback may perform your root canal treatment, or he may refer you to an Endodontist. Most of the time, you will be placed on an antibiotic prior to your treatment.
Root canal therapy is necessary when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay, cracks or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and disinfected thoroughly. The resulting space is filled with Gutta Percha, to seal the tooth from the inside.
Having a root canal procedure performed is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing an infected tooth is the solution. What is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. From the day a tooth is removed, their occlusion (bite) begins to change, altering their occlusal harmony. Many patients spend multiple thousands of dollars repairing this extensive occlusal damage years later.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime when properly & timely restored after treatment. On occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections or restoration failure.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist). While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, shaped, and disinfected, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with gutta percha and sealer. A soft temporary filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth.
At the next appointment, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
Signs And Symptoms For a Root Canal:
- An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
- Multiple cracks in the tooth enamel
- Sensitivity to hot and cold
- Severe toothache pain
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
- Swelling and/or tenderness
Reasons For Root Canal Therapy
- Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
- Infection has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip (an abscess)
- Injury or trauma to the tooth
- Cracks in the tooth which penetrate into the pulp