A root canal is a treatment of the center of the tooth that is inflamed, infected or dead. The center of the tooth, called the pulp, is a soft substance that consists of nerve, blood vessels and connective tissue. Symptoms of the infection include visible swelling in the area around the tooth and/or sensitivity to temperature, or pain in the tooth and gums. If you experience any of the symptoms, contact our dental office.
Dr. Kujala will take an x-ray of the tooth. If she determines that you need a root canal treatment, she will schedule 1 or 2 appointments based on the size and duration of an abscess and other factors.
Before starting root canal therapy, local anesthesia is administered to ensure your complete comfort. A dental dam is placed on the infected site to isolate the affected area. A small opening is made through the top of the tooth to gain access to the pulp. The pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the root canal, is removed from the chamber and canals. The canals are then cleaned with a disinfecting solution. X-rays may be taken throughout the procedure to ensure each canal is being adequately treated.
Once the canals are cleaned, they are filled with gutta percha, a rubber-like material to protect and seal. A temporary filling may be placed in the opening until it can be replaced by a permanent filling. After the root canal is completed, the tooth will need a crown to protect it from fracturing.
After the procedure, your tooth may feel sensitive for the first few days. This discomfort may be relieved with over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications. Avoid chewing on the treated tooth until you have a full restoration.
Root canal therapy can preserve a patient’s tooth for a lifetime. It is a highly successful procedure with more than a 95% success rate.
Be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with our dentist to ensure your treatment is healing correctly. If a problem occurs, contact our dental office. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene daily.