Root Canal Therapy

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a very common dental procedure, with over 15 million performed every year in the United States. The success rate of the procedure is over 90%, and can allow patients to maintain their natural tooth, preventing the need for an implant or bridge to replace it.

Inside of each tooth is a series of canals where pulp tissue exists. Pulp tissue is made up of a collection of blood vessels, nerves, and other soft tissue. When the pulp tissue becomes effected from trauma or decay, it can become irreversibly inflamed and eventually die, potentially leading to pain and infection.

The tooth and surrounding area are numbed with local anesthetic. To alleviate signs and symptoms of pain relating to the pulp, inflamed and dead pulp tissue is removed from the inside of the tooth before the root canals are thoroughly disinfected. Once the root canal system has been cleaned, is it filled and sealed, and a temporary filling is placed on the top of the tooth. With a temporary filling in place, your dentist can now restore the tooth in the most appropriate way. To avoid contamination of the root canal system from bacteria and saliva, it is strongly recommended to see your dentist within 2-4 weeks of completing root canal treatment.

Following routine root canal therapy, you will be able to drive home after your treatment, and likely can return to your normal routine. Some patients experience some minor soreness for a few days following root canal therapy, but this can often be managed with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.