Also known as endodontics, root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. There are a whole host of reasons why you might need root canal treatment:
Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
Crack or chip in the tooth
In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
There are many clinical reasons for needing root canal treatment, but there are also countless practical reasons why saving the natural tooth is a wise choice. Root canal treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work.
The dentist examines and takes an x-ray of the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the dentist places a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
The dentist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
After space is cleaned and shaped, the dentist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before
the tooth is restored.
After the final visit with your dentist, you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.