Sometimes the nerve or root of a tooth may become infected or die when there is untreated decay, such as putting off a filling or if there is trauma to a tooth. When that happens, the damaged or dead part of the root needs to be removed through root canal therapy, also known as endodontics.
Endodontics therapy involves the complete removal of everything that lies in the root canal. The hollow area is then cleaned, shaped and decontaminated. Miniscule files and irrigation solutions are used. An inert filling, such as gutta percha, fills up the hollow, along with a eugenol-based cement.
The procedure is often just called a “root canal” for short. The good news is that with constant innovations, root canal therapy has become quicker and easier than ever before.
Oftentimes the root canal will be completed in one appointment, but sometimes we’ll “open the tooth,” which is the start of a root canal procedure, and then have you come back when most of the inflammation and infection have settled down. Either way, we make sure you’re numb while we treat you. Aside from tenderness in the day or two after, root canal therapy is fairly low-key.
4-6 weeks after your root canal is complete, you’ll typically need to return to the office for a crown. Otherwise, your newly treated tooth will become brittle and is highly likely to break beyond the point of salvage. If the tooth already has a crown then we’ll have you back in to place a permanent filling in the root canal access opening.