Root Canals

When You Need Root Canal Therapy

Most of us know that a cavity is the catalyst for needing root canal therapy, but we don’t know why. As an untreated cavity advances, it deepens and infects the pulp and chamber of the tooth. This can either injure or destroy the pulp/nerve of the tooth. Pressure begins to build up within the tooth, creating the pain we experience with a toothache.

At this point, a dentist’s intervention is critical, and the patient has two options to eliminate the pain. One option is to pull the tooth, or we can try to save the tooth by performing root canal therapy. Certainly, it’s always preferable to keep your tooth. Risks and benefits of both options will be discussed with you in detail.

Root canal therapy often requires two office visits. The tooth is first prepared by numbing it with a local anesthetic. Using special root canal instruments, the infected nerve is removed from the tooth. A medication is placed to disinfect the tooth and allow healing. The dentist may prescribe an antibiotic as well.

Typically conducted on a follow-up visit, the tooth is evaluated to ensure the infection is gone. If so, the tooth is sealed with gutta-percha to serve as a permanent protection against contamination.

After the root canal therapy is done, usually a crown is recommended for the tooth to protect the tooth from fracture or reinfection.