Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy (Endodontics)

A root canal… it’s not as bad as you think!

Root Canal therapy is like a ‘chimney sweep’ for your tooth. This treatment is used to clean out the pulp inside of your tooth (pulp consists of nerves and blood vessels that keep your tooth vital) and fill up the area with a safe inert material that seals the chambers of your tooth.

If there is an active infection present and your tooth is bothering you, our dentists will often recommend antibiotics to calm the infection prior to the root canal therapy. Antibiotics will not ‘cure’ the tooth ache, the symptoms always reappear, often worse than before and may become life threatening if the tooth itself is not treated. As a rule of thumb when it comes to needing a root canal; the sooner, the better.

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Why do I need a root canal?

Root Canal therapy is indicated when the pulp or nerve of a tooth has been irreversibly damaged (as a result of deep decay, trauma or the removal of a deep old filling can cause this to happen).

A root canal may be required as a result of:

  • Cracked Teeth. When a tooth has cracked, bacteria from your mouth can attack and irritate the pulp of the tooth causing a low-grade infection.
  • Deep Decay. When decay has become very large and bacteria from this decay has infected the pulp
  • Trauma. When a tooth is traumatized from force, for example, falling and hitting your front teeth (common in toddlers and young children) an unbalanced heavy bite, or an accidental high stick to the face while playing Hockey or a blow to the face in Baseball.

Please know:

Your tooth needing a root canal is not always accompanied by a toothache, pain, or swelling.

Just because there is no pain does not always mean your tooth is in a healthy state.

All of the above can advance to what is known as a dental abscess. A dental abscess is a bacterial infection within the teeth, gums, or even the bone that holds the teeth in place. That is why if your tooth is left untreated it may become life threatening. Bacterial infections are never good!

How many appointments are needed?

Most times only one appointment is needed. However, if the tooth is infected two or more appointments are required.

If more than one appointment is needed a temporary filling is placed in between appointments keeping that tooth sealed and protected.

Should I expect any discomfort after my root canal?

After the appointment, there may be some tenderness the first night or two and ibuprofen, Advil, or Motrin will usually take care of any symptoms.

If it was a dental abscess that initially caused pain and discomfort, you will most likely notice immediate relief, and have a significant reduction in your symptoms following your root canal therapy.

Will I need a crown after my root canal?

Yes! When the pulp is removed from your tooth, the ‘lifeline’ and blood supply is gone, making your tooth non-vital. Non-vital teeth become very fragile as they are brittle and break easily.

A crown is almost always recommended by your dental professionals to prevent the tooth from breaking.

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