Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is the most commonly performed procedure amongst all endodontic treatment procedures. An endodontist performs root canal treatment to treat problems related to the soft inner pulp of a tooth.


Why do I need a root canal?

Root canal treatment is required when nerve tissue inside the teeth degenerates. Without root canal treatment, the infection in the tooth pulp can result in an abscess, which in turn can cause damage to the jawbone. You will need a root canal to save your tooth and to ensure that the tissue around the root of the tooth remains healthy and free from inflammation.


What are the symptoms or signs that a root canal is needed?

You may need a root canal if a tooth is causing you pain or if the gums adjacent to the tooth are tender and swollen. Another symptom is if the tooth appears discolored and has become extra sensitive to heat and cold. If these symptoms reveal inflamed and infected pulp inside the tooth then your dentist may recommend a root canal procedure.


What are the causes of dental pulp or nerve damage?

Dental caries(cavities), chipped teeth, cracked dental fillings, and injury to the teeth can cause damage to the dental pulp. If dental caries are not treated in time, the decay spreads inwards into the tooth pulp causing nerve damage. Cracked dental fillings allow saliva and harmful bacteria to reach the root canal and infect the pulp. Fractured teeth can expose the pulp. Injury to the teeth can cause pulp damage even if there are no external signs of damage to the inside of the teeth.


Why is root canal therapy necessary?

When the nerves inside the tooth pulp die, the tooth dentin and enamel can no longer receive organic nutrients and moisture. The inflamed tissue surrounding the tooth causes toothache and infection can damage the bones around the teeth. If the damaged pulp is not treated, bacterial infection and inflammation can loosen the tooth and it may have to be removed. Therefore, root canal therapy is necessary to preserve the tooth and also protect the jawbone.


What does the root canal procedure involve?

The procedure takes place in four steps. First, the doctor studies the x-ray of the infected tooth and then administers a local anesthetic. Then, the dentist removes the inflamed nerve tissue through an opening in the crown of the tooth. The root canal is cleaned properly so that no debris or bacteria is left behind. This will ensure that infection and tissue swelling does not happen again. In the second step of the root canal procedure, the dentist will seal off the cleaned root canal cavity. This is to prevent fluids and bacteria from entering the cavity. In the third step the root canal is filled with gutta-percha and adhesive cement mixture. In the fourth and final step, a crown is placed on the sealed tooth which allows the tooth to function normally.

     
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Randy D. Carlson DMD, FAGD
Charles L. Drury, DDS, AEGD, FAGD
5256 South Mission RD
Suite 1101
Bonsall, CA 92003

P. 760-630-5500
F. 760-630-5831