Root Canal Therapy


What is a root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is a commonly performed procedure in dentistry that can be used to treat infection and save a tooth from extraction, thereby preventing the need for dental implants and bridges. When a cavity or infection reaches the nerve of a tooth, a person may experience pain. Root canal therapy is done to remove the infected pulp of the tooth and irrigate the canals to remove bacteria. Local anesthesia is used to maximize comfort during the procedure. Once the canals are cleaned and shaped, a biocompatible filling material is placed to seal the decontaminated canals. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels & nerves located in the center of your tooth. This pulp can become infected due to trauma, decay, repeated dental procedures or cracks in the tooth. Symptoms of the infection include pain, swelling, sensitivity to hot/cold, or discoloration. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will likely recommend root canal therapy. Sometimes, there are no symptoms, and the infection is detected in an x-ray.

Why should I get a root canal therapy?

If not treated, infection of the pulp can become worse, causing an abscess. If you have noticed pain or swelling around one of your teeth, you should see an endodontist so the proper diagnosis can be made and treatment performed, if necessary.

How long will it take?

A root canal therapy may be performed in one or two visits, depending on the treatment required.

What happens after treatment?

After root canal therapy, it may take a few days for the inflamed tissues around your tooth to heal. It is normal for your tooth to be tender to biting during this time. You can use whichever pain killer you normally take, such as ibuprofen, Tylenol, Advil or Aleve. Make sure to follow the recommend precautions for these medications. Once your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office and follow-up within a few weeks. Your restorative dentist will determine what type of restoration is needed to protect your tooth. Although your roots are sealed, the outer surface is filled with a temporary filling material. If your tooth does not get the restoration it needs, the temporary filling may fall out and the tooth may become re-infected.

How much will it cost?

The cost associated with this procedure can vary depending on factors such as which tooth is affected and the severity of damage to the affected tooth. In general, endodontic treatment is less expensive than tooth removal and replacement with an artificial tooth.