Endodontics (Root Canals)

What is a root canal?

A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, with many millions of teeth treated every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for extraction that then requires dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is what is called the dental pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that help to form the tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection typically manifest as visible damage to the tooth, or swelling of gums, sensitivity to temperature, pain when the tooth is touched or when biting on it, or just pain in the gums.

Sometimes the nerve in a tooth dies but does not give immediate symptoms. These can only be identified by radiographic exams (X-rays).

How is a root canal performed?

If Dr. Fletcher determines that a root canal treatment is needed he will most likely recommend a non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp and resulting infection. The injured or diseased pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy is done with local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the severity of the symptoms and if there is infection. Success for this type of treatment is very good with more than 90% of cases resolving after treatment. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or if the chance of success is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment.

You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you should be able to return soon your normal routine.

What happens after treatment?

After non-surgical root canal treatment is completed the tooth will need some type of restoration to strengthen and seal the tooth to prevent any recurring infection. Most teeth treated with a root canal require a full coverage crown. It is important to restore the tooth soon after the root canal is completed to prevent any leakage or cracking of the tooth.