Root Canal Therapy (Endodontics)

Root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The term "root canal" comes from cleaning of the canals inside a tooth's root. When decay is exposed to the dental pulp, which contains living cells, inflammation is created. Unlike most parts of the body, the tooth is a closed system and when inflammation occurs in the pulp there is no place for the cells and toxins to go other then out of the root into the jaw. The bacteria and puss will destroy the bone traveling the path of least resistance to escape the jawbone. Serious complications including death can result depending on what tooth is infected and where the infection spreads. With dental advances and local anesthetics, most people have little if any pain with a root canal. Root canal alternatives include extracting the damaged tooth and replacing it with a dental implant, bridge or removable partial denture.

What’s it for:

  • A decayed tooth where the decay reaches the pulp
  • Cracked Tooth
  • Prophylactic pulp removal when significant tooth structure has to be removed to make a well fitting crown

What does it require:

Your tooth will first be anesthetized (or numbed). Most Root Canals require only one visit, however there is a chance that two visits may be needed depending on if infection is present. 

First an opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber. The pulp is then removed. The root canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be filled. Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of germs and prevent infection. A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. We may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth. The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and filled. In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth.