Root canal treatment, or endodontics, becomes necessary when the pulp (or soft tissue) inside a tooth becomes inflamed or diseased. This often occurs when untreated tooth decay burrows deep into the tooth and damages the tooth structure. When the damage is so severe it can’t be treated with a filling, we remove the diseased pulp, reshape the tooth canal, fill the area with a strengthening material and seal it. This preserves the tooth and makes a tooth replacement unnecessary.
Other reasons to have a root canal procedure are tooth decay, swelling or tenderness near an infected tooth, a chipped or broken tooth, extreme sensitivity to hot and cold, a blow to the tooth, or repeated dental procedures on a tooth.
What you can expect during a root canal procedure:
• The patient is anesthetized.
• A dental dam isolates the tooth.
• The infected or dead dental pulp is removed.
• The tooth is cleaned, including cracks and canals.
• The canals are reshaped.
• The tooth is filled with a biocompatible filling material.
• The access opening is temporarily covered.
• The tooth is permanently restored.
It is a common misperception that root canals are painful procedure. Root canals are generally no more painful than having a cavity filled.