Root Canal Therapy
What is root canal therapy?
A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures. Millions of teeth are saved each year with root canal treatment, otherwise known as endodontic care. While many dentists perform root canal treatment, your dentist may recommend you visit an endodontist for your procedure. Less than 3% of dentists are endodontists, dental specialists with 2-3 years of additional training in endodontic procedures. A root canal is one of many procedures that an endodontist can perform. Using modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report they are very comfortable during treatment. For the first few days after your root canal, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. Over-the-counter medications, such as Advil® or Tylenol®, are generally enough to manage this sensitivity.
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is the Greek word for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Root canal treatment is just one type of endodontic treatment an endodontist is trained to perform.
Underneath the hard, outer tissue of your tooth lies the soft, inner tissue called the dental pulp. This tissue contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. Endodontic treatment is necessary when this tissue becomes irreversibly inflamed or infected.
This inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep dental decay, repeated restorative procedures, cracked teeth or dental trauma.
If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or abscess.
During a root canal, an endodontist carefully removes the inflamed or infected dental pulp and replaces this space with a filling. This process allows you to keep your natural tooth’s form and function. The access opening is sealed with a temporary restoration, and patients are instructed to follow up with their dentist for a permanent restoration within 2-3 weeks.