Root Canals

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to repair a badly damaged or infected tooth that would otherwise need to be removed. The treatment involves removing the damaged area of the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting it, then filling and sealing it.

What are the causes?

The most common causes are trauma, a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, or repeated dental treatments to the tooth. A root canal treatment may be needed when the injury or cavity has damaged the tooth’s root and become infected or inflamed.

What are the symptoms?

Although some patients may have little to no pain, other symptoms may include:

  • A toothache or pain
  • Tooth darkening or discoloration
  • Hot/cold sensitivity
  • Tenderness when a tooth is touched
  • Tenderness while chewing

What to expect during a root canal?

If you need a root canal, there are several steps that may occur over one or two visits.

  1. X-ray – first X-rays will be taken to determine where the decay is located.
  2. Anesthesia – a local anesthesia is administered, and a  “dental dam” is placed on the tooth to keep it clean during the procedure.
  3. Pulpectomy – an opening is made, and the diseased tooth pulp is removed. Small instruments are used to clean the infection out of the canals and to shape the space for filling.
  4. Filling – a temporary or permanent filling material will then be placed to seal the access hole that was made to treat the canals.
  5. Antibiotic – after the procedure, an antibiotic may be prescribed to treat or prevent infection.
  6. Crown – during your final visit, the tooth will need a permanent restoration. Typically, a crown will be placed to protect and restore the tooth to its full function.