Root Canal

Root Canal Therapy (RCT)

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, dental materials.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment option to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting a tooth can be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is most times successful, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections or extracted.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess or pimple on the gums.
  • sensitivity to hot and cold
  • severe tooth ache pain
  • sometimes no symptoms are present
  • Swelling and/or tenderness

Reasons for root canal therapy:

  • decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
  • infection or abscesses have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
  • injury or trauma to the tooth

What does RCT involve:

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve, tissue and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, the canals will be filled and the tooth will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointment are needed a temporary filling will be placed. Most teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

The procedures may vary on each patient depending on the circumstance of ones tooth.