Root Canal Therapy


Getting to the root of endodontic (Root Canal) treatments


In the past, injured or diseased teeth frequently had to be removed. Today, they often can be saved through endodontic treatment, also known as root canal treatment. Root canals sometimes can be performed in one visit depending on the condition of the tooth. In some instances, more than one office visit may be required.


A root canal treatment generally involves the removal and replacement of a tooth’s pulp. The pulp is soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue.

-The pulp is found in a canal that runs through the center of the hard tissue on the inside of the tooth (the dentin).

-The pulp extends from the pulp chamber in the crown down through the root canal to the tip of the root in the jawbone.

-A tooth has only one pulp chamber but may have more than one root and several root canals.

If pulp becomes damaged through injury or disease and cannot repair itself, bacteria and their products can leak into the pulp and cause the pulp to die. If a root canal procedure is not performed, an abscess can form at the tip of the root and cause considerable pain. Even if there is no pain, the bone anchoring the tooth in the jaw can be damaged. Without treatment, the tooth may have to be extracted.


Here is what you can expect when you schedule a root canal treatment. On the initial visit:

- Local anesthetic usually is given, to maintain patient comfort.

- The affected tooth is isolated from saliva with a rubberlike sheet called a dam.

- An opening is made through the crown of the tooth. The pulp is removed, and then the root or roots are cleaned and shaped. Medication may be added to the pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help eliminate bacteria.

- A temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to keep saliva out. Antibiotics may be prescribed if an infection is present and has spread beyond the end of the root(s).

On the next visit:

- The temporary filling is removed.

- The canals are filled and permanently sealed.

- After the root canal is completed, you will be booked back in about 2 weeks to have your tooth checked.

- After the root canal is completed, the tooth still needs to have the top part restored. Fabricating a crown on the tooth is recommended for long term strength. Once the tooth is crowned it can remain healthy as long as it is maintained with good oral hygiene and regular dental visits.