Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed to reach all the way to the pulp chamber.
The tooth has three layers, the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp chamber. The pulp chamber is the blood supply and nerve supply of the tooth. It is a sterile environment.
However, regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early which can help avoid a root canal altogether. Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs to be removed or a root canal. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected, and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It will become very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, or a bad taste you can’t get rid of.
The root canal treatment is two visits. It begins with putting the patient on an antibiotic to help reduce the bacteria in the pulp chamber. This also helps relieve the soreness and pain the patient is suffering.
Next, the dentist will anesthetize the area to be worked on, and begin by making a preparation to remove the infected pulp. This is done with very small files inserted into the pulp canals. There can be one, two or three canals, depending on which tooth we are working on. The files are inserted and removed, removing the infected pulp. After the canals are cleaned and sterilized , the chamber is filled with a medicated filling and a temporary filling is placed. The patient is then released. The second root canal appointment is to finish removing all the infected pulp and preparing it for a crown.
Needing a root canal? Contact Farr Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for an appointment today.