Root Canal

A root canal is the interior portion of a developed tooth that contains the pulp. Damage or decay of a tooth typically begins the slow process of pulp “death”.

Lifeless pulp provides the environment for micro-organisms and infection to grow. Infection and micro-organism activity can undermine the bone that anchors the tooth into the jaw.

Without root canal therapy intervention, the tooth may be lost, compromising the surrounding teeth and exterior facial structure.

What is the purpose of root canal therapy?

There are 4 fundamental purposes of root canal therapy:

  1. is to save the tooth;
  2. is to intervene in micro-organism and infection activity in the mouth;
  3. to retain the exterior facial configuration;
  4. and root canal therapy is less expense than alternative accommodations such as implants and dental bridges.

How is root canal therapy performed?

Initially hot and cold tests are performed to determine if pulp disease or infection is present. These simple test mimic those conditions that trigger root canal symptoms. (It is important not to take any kind of pain medication at least 6 hours prior to these tests.)

A CT scan is performed to identify the compromised tooth as it is very common for pain referral to other teeth in the month. Further, CT imaging fully exposes the unseen labyrinth of canal structure. Like a snowflake, every tooth is as unique as the person to whom it belongs.

After administration of local anesthetic, entry to the root canal is made through the crown of the tooth. Dead or diseased pulp is removed by gently negotiating through the complex forms of the pulp channel with tiny files that retrieve pulp and shape the passage. Sterilization of the canal is competed with a solution, then hermetically sealed using gutta-percha, a plant material from the genus Palaguium that is inert, malleable and biocompatible. A ceramic crown is sculpted to replace the damaged tooth surface.

Does root canal therapy hurt?

With modern medications and procedural techniques, root canal therapy is not painful with rapid recovery time and minimal affect on the body.

What is the expected recovery time?

There will be modest discomfort the first 12 hours following the therapy.  Medication and an individual care plan will be provided to you before leaving the office.

Can the root canal therapy fail?

Yes, root canal therapy can fail, because nothing is life is guaranteed.  Statistically, 95% of individuals who have root canal therapy enjoy decades of enjoying their own teeth.  Circumstances that most affect root canal therapy results are (a) timeliness of detection and treatment; and (b) good personal hygiene and health care.

Get in Touch with L Stephen Buchanan, DDS