What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, more than 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. Watch the video to the right to understand how root canal treatment can save your tooth and to learn more about endodontists who specialize in this dental procedure.
What is endodontic treatment (commonly known as a root canal)?
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.”
The hollow space inside a tooth contains tissue called the dental pulp. Decay, repeated dental procedures, cracks or trauma to the tooth can cause the pulp to become irritated, inflamed or infected. When this happens, endodontic treatment is needed. If left untreated, the result can be pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling or a draining abscess ("pimple") on the gums. This is why it is so important to treat teeth that need root canals.
How is endodontic treatment performed?
Root canal treatment is routinely done in one or two visits. After a consultation, which includes x-rays, a diagnosis will be made and treatment options will be presented. If endodontic treatment is needed, a local anesthetic is then administered. The tooth is isolated with a thin sheet of rubber ("rubber dam") to protect your throat from debris or fluids.
During endodontic treatment, the damaged or infected pulp is removed. After carefully cleaning of the inside of the tooth, this space is then filled and sealed. Following a root canal, your general dentist will place a crown or other restoration to protect and restore the tooth to its full function.
A small opening is made through the chewing surface of the tooth allowing access to the tooth’s pulp and root canals. After determining the length of the canals, they are cleaned with small instruments and disinfectants. Your endodontist fills and seals the canals with a biocompatible material called gutta-percha. A temporary filling is then placed in the access opening. This temporary filling can only be there temporarily as its name highlights. This is why it is very important to return to your general dentist after the root canal is done in order secure its the success with a permanent restoration.
Watch the video for a great visual explanation of how a root canal treatment is performed step by step.
Why choose to save your tooth with a root canal over other treatment options?
Saving your natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain
In conclusion, nothing is as good as your own natural tooth!
If you have any other questions about root canals, check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) under the Patient Info tab. We most likely have answers to all of your questions there.