If you have a severely damaged, decaying tooth or a serious tooth infection (abscess), you may need root canal treatment. Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of removing it.
About Root Canals
The pulp is soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels and provides nourishment for your tooth. It can become infected if you have:
- A deep cavity
- Repeated dental procedures that disturb this tissue
- A cracked or fractured tooth
- Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
If untreated, the tissues around the root of your tooth can become infected. When this happens, you will often feel pain and swelling and an abscess may form inside the tooth and/or in the bone around the end of the root of the tooth. An infection can also put you at risk of losing your tooth completely because bacteria can damage the bone that keeps your tooth connected to your jaw.
Root Canal Procedure
Root canal treatment usually takes 1 or 2 office visits to complete. There is little to no pain because we will use local anesthesia so you don’t feel the procedure. Once the procedure is complete, you should no longer have the pain you felt before treatment.
During treatment, your dentist will:
- Create an opening in the top of your tooth.
- Remove the tooth’s nerve from inside the tooth and in the root canals
- Clean inside the tooth and each root canal.
- Fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them against future infection.
- Place a temporary filling on the tooth to protect it until a definitive restoration like a permanent filling or crown can be placed at the earliest opportunity.
You will need a follow-up visit after the root canal treatment. This treatment could be a permanent filling to close the opening used to access the canals or possibly a post and crown. We will recommend restorative treatment prior to beginning the root canal.