Root Canals (Endodontic Therapy)

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is an endodontic procedure, meaning that it treats the dental pulp inside of a tooth, which consists of nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and specialized cells that contribute to the development of healthy teeth.

In cases of infection and inflammation of dental pulp, root canal therapy is used to remove the pulp from inside a tooth and refill the space with special filling material in order to stabilize the tooth and avoid extraction.

When is a root canal necessary?

In some patients, dental decay may advance to the inside of a tooth, often through a very deep cavity, or through a crack or fracture in the tooth, and in some cases as a consequence of repeated dental procedures or a faulty crown. When this happens, harmful bacteria may spread to the tooth’s inner pulp, causing inflammation and infection. Once that infection sets in, the tooth may not be saved unless the inside pulp is removed. Root canal therapy is the only treatment that alleviates the pain and inflammation that accompanies infection in the dental pulp. This procedure removes the dental pulp entirely and replaces it with a material that will no longer permit inflammation to occur.

You may need root canal therapy if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Severe toothache pain accompanied by swelling and tenderness around the gum line
  • Severe pain when chewing or applying pressure on the tooth
  • Prolonged sensitivity and pain in response to heat and cold
  • Discoloration or darkening of the tooth

Can a root canal fix an abscess?

An abscess may occur as a result of deep decay and the resulting infection that may develop in or around the tooth’s root. If the infection has advanced to the inside of the dental cavity and affected the dental pulp, a root canal procedure will treat the infection and alleviate the pain associated with it.

Please note that abscesses may recur if you have a gum or periodontal infection that has not been treated properly. Dr. Emily or Dr. Patrick can provide a thorough dental exam to identify or rule out any infection.

Is root canal therapy painful?

We provide various forms of pain management options while performing the root canal procedure. Most of our patients report that the root canal procedure is generally no more painful than the pain of getting a dental filling.