Root Canal Treatment

Removing the root of the problem

Root canal therapy is one of the most common dental procedures performed. Well over 14 million root canals are done every year in North America. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for dental implants or bridges.

What is a root canal and why do I need one? At the center of your tooth is the dental pulp. The pulp is a discrete organ containing various cell types including nerve fibers and blood vessels that helped to build the surrounding tooth during childhood. But the pulp has limited function once the tooth is fully formed and you will not notice it’s absence if it needs to be removed. Deep decay, cracks and chips in the enamel, complex restorations, or trauma to the tooth can cause infection or inflammation of the pulp. In some cases, even normal “wear and tear” can damage the pulp over the course of a lifetime. Like most human tissues the pulp has the capacity to repair itself and heal, but when this capacity is exceeded by injury or stress the pulp enters a downward spiral of diminishing vitality and increasing sensitivity. At this point root canal treatment or extraction are the only options.

During the treatment the injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleansed, disinfected and filled. This therapy always involves profound local anesthesia—we will make sure your tooth is completely numb before we start treatment. A root canal may be completed in one or sometimes two or more visits depending on the diagnosis and complexity of the root canal system.

Success for this type of treatment occurs in well over 90% of cases. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during treatment.

Feel free to take the rest of the day off after your appointment but this is not required and you should be able to immediately return to your normal routine.