What is a root canal?
A root canal is a procedure which removes infected pulp from the interior of a tooth. Root canals save severely infected teeth from needing to be extracted.
When is a root canal needed?
A root canal is needed when there is an infection within the root of the tooth. The pulp (nerve structure) inside the tooth can become infected with bacteria due to an untreated cavity or trauma to the tooth. This infection can cause the pulp to die and cause pain and swelling. If root canal therapy is not performed on an infected tooth, the infection can become severe enough that the tooth will need to be extracted.
Who performs root canals?
Depending on the level of severity, root canals are performed by a general dentist or an endodontist. The general dentist will decide if the procedure is complicated enough to be sent to an endodontist.
How does a root canal work?
Root Canals are usually performed over two visits and involve a few steps.
First, using local anesthesia, the tooth is numbed. Second, the dentist will create a small opening in the top of the tooth. The dentist will then clear away the infected pump from the inside of the tooth. During this process, he/she might use water to rinse out remaining pulp. Once the interior of the tooth is cleaned and dried, the dentist will fill it. The opening created will be closed with a temporary filling while a permanent crown is made. Sometimes a crown is not needed if the decay or infection is minor.
A second appointment may be needed to place a permanent crown on the tooth a few weeks after the root canal procedure.
After the procedure you should not feel discomfort. Please give us a call if you continue to experience pain.
Need a root canal or a consultation with one of our dentists?
Schedule an appointment at the location most convenient to you.