Root Canal Therapy

Inside your tooth's hard outer shell is a nourishing pulp of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves. The canal of the tooth root provides a conduit for these vessels and nerves to connect to the rest of the body's systems. Deep tooth decay or injury to the teeth can cause serious damage to and infection of the nerves and vessels of the tooth pulp. Root canal, also known as endodontic treatment, cleans out the infected pulp chamber and canals and replaces the organic material with an inert filling.

Some indications of the need for root canal treatment may be:

> Spontaneous pain or throbbing.
> Pain while biting or chewing.
> Sensitivity to hot and cold.
> Severe decay or injury that causes an abscess (infection) in the bone surrounding the tooth.

Damaged or infected nerves and vessels in the tooth pulp will not heal by themselves. Infection will spread without treatment; the bone around the affected tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall out. Pain usually increases, forcing the patient to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative to root canal in these circumstances is extraction of the tooth, which may cause shifting of the surrounding teeth and eventual malocclusion. Although extraction is less expensive than a root canal, the space left by removal of the infected or damaged tooth will have to be filled by an implant or a bridge, procedures which can be more costly than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it is always best to keep your original teeth.

Root canal treatment in this office usually requires one visit, unless an infection is present. Initially, you will probably be given a local anesthetic to numb the area. A gap is drilled from the top of the tooth into the pulp chamber which, along with any infected portion of root canal, is cleaned of all diseased pulp and reshaped. The pulp chamber and canals are then filled with a rubberlike substance called gutta percha. If the tooth is weak, a metal post may be inserted above the canal to reinforce the tooth. Finally, a porcelain crown is placed over the tooth to strengthen it and improve appearance.

More than 95% of root canal treatments are successful. Occasionally, a patient may require retreatment, and, on rare occasions, a surgical approach is necessary to seal the canals shut.

cosmetic bonding to cover chips, cracks and stains
natural looking crowns
bridges and implants
root canal therapy
professional cleanings and regular checkups
full and partial dentures
nightguards: protection from teeth grinding
tooth-coloured non-mercury fillings
teeth whitening (bleaching)
protective mouth guards
oral hygiene maintenance

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