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Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection.  In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed.  Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • 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 or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does root canal therapy involve?

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, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials.  A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth.  In addition, 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.

 

Related Root Canal/Endodontic Articles

Root Canal - Dear Doctor Magazine“I'd Rather Have a Root Canal...”
A common misconception is demystified. Get the real story about this much maligned procedure that eases pain, rather than causes it... Read Article

Root Canal - Dear Doctor MagazineRoot Canal Treatment For Children's Teeth
You may think that if a baby tooth comes out prematurely, it's no great loss; after all, it was going to fall out anyway, right? Wrong! Primary teeth serve as important guides for the permanent teeth that will replace them. Young children can lose primary (baby) teeth when the pulp, the living tissue inside a tooth, becomes infected as a result of decay or trauma. Losing baby teeth prematurely can allow bite problems to develop. Root canal treatment for children can prevent this. Learn what to look for in your child and what can be done to save baby teeth until they are ready to be lost naturally... Read Article

Dental Injuries - Dear Doctor MagazineTrauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth
Answers to treatment of specific dental injuries - not only do injuries and their treatment vary, but they are also influenced by the type of tooth, whether baby or adult teeth, and their stage of growth and development. From chipped to fractured teeth, modern dentistry's answers are here and now... Read Article

Tooth Pain - Dear Doctor MagazineTooth Pain? Don't Wait!
Pain is a protective response that ranges from minor sensitivity to severe pain and informs the body that something is wrong. As for tooth pain, it is caused by a reaction of the nerves inside a tooth's pulp chamber with the severity dependent upon the type and degree of the stimulus... Read Article

Common Root Canal Concerns - Dear Doctor MagazineCommon Concerns About Root Canal Treatments
Getting to the "root" of the problem. Get the real story about this much maligned procedure that eases pain, rather than causes it... Read Article

 

 

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Aesthetic Associates Centre
Buffalo Dentist

Dr. Todd E. Shatkin, DDS 2500 Kensington Ave
Buffalo, NY
14226

(716) 839-1700

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