A root canal, or endodontic therapy, is a specialized dental procedure that is designed to restore the health of a damaged tooth and save it from extraction. The procedure is used when a tooth’s inner pulp has become seriously infected, causing the tooth to essentially die from the inside. Root canal treatment allows us to repair a damaged tooth and save the existing structure.
Underneath a tooth’s hard exterior is a softer tissue known as the pulp. The pulp, which extends all the way down to the tooth’s root tip in the jawbone, is comprised of living material that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. This inner material is extremely vulnerable. That is why it is protected by the hard exterior. But when a tooth’s interior pulp does become damaged, it can result in significant pain and eventually tooth loss. This problem is typically caused by a deep cavity or an injury that causes the tooth’s inner pulp to become infected. If this happens, a root canal procedure will be needed to restore the tooth.
Some signs that the inner pulp of a tooth has been damaged include:
- Severe toothache
- Temperature sensitivities
- Tooth discoloration
- Swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes
- Recurring swelling and abscess on the gums
We start the procedure by using specialized dental tools so that the inside of the tooth can be accessed from the top. We will then clean out the tooth and remove any infected and damaged pulp material that is present. Once the structure itself is clean, we will flush out the root canals with a special antimicrobial liquid. This will eliminate any harmful material that is present inside the root canals. We will then seal the tooth with medicated fillings to encourage healing and to provide the tooth with necessary structure. To finish, the tooth will be capped with a dental crown. The crown will keep the tooth protected and prevent any fractures or breakages from occurring later on. After treatment, the patient should allow the tooth to completely heal before attempting to use it normally. Most teeth that are treated with endodontic therapy make a full recovery.
A root canal procedure may be able to save your damaged tooth from extraction. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please visit us for a consultation. You may call us at (540) 317-1139 to schedule an appointment.