Root Canal Therapy

What is Root Canal Treatment?

While root canals tend to have a bad reputation, many people find them to be more like a filling than they expected. Root canals are one of the most common dental procedures performed. The American Associates of Endodontics estimates that over 15 million root canals are performed each year. This common procedure provides a way to relieve pain as well as save your natural tooth, rather than turn to bridges or implants.

Underneath the hard outer layer of your tooth is soft tissue called pulp. Pulp is a collection of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Root canal treatment is often needed when pulp gets infected. There are several ways pulp can get infected including deep decay, cracks, chips, dental treatment and trauma. Symptoms of this infection may include swollen or tender gums, lingering sensitivity to temperature, or severe pain when chewing.

If you are experiencing these symptoms your dentist may recommend a root canal. You will have the opportunity to discuss your treatment options in order to make an informed decision. During this procedure the endodontist will use local anesthesia to ensure you do not experience any pain. Once you are fully numb the endodontist will open a small hole in the top of your tooth in order to reach the pulp. They will then thoroughly clean out the inside of your tooth and replace the infected pulp with gutta-percha in order to preserve the structure of your tooth. Root canal treatment can usually be completed in one appointment. In some cases your endodontist may require two appointments to complete the treatment. Much like having a filling done, you are safe to drive following your appointment. Most people are able to resume their normal routine that same day.