A "root canal," or endodontic therapy, is a procedure available to save a tooth that is infected and would otherwise require extraction. There are many reasons that teeth can become infected, including: cavities, previous large fillings, crowns, cracks, trauma and extreme wear.
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is inflamed or infected. In order to save the tooth, the pulp area is cleaned, bacteria and any decay are removed, and the resulting space is filled with a biocompatible material called gutta percha. After the tooth is healed, getting a crown is recommended so the tooth does not become brittle and break.
Having a root canal done on a tooth may be the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed. Extracting, or pulling a tooth, could ultimately be more costly and cause more problems for adjacent teeth, as well as causing loss of bone around the extraction site.
While root canal therapy has a high degree of success, it is not guaranteed. It is important to have a permanent restoration (usually a crown) placed after having a root canal.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
What does root canal therapy involve?Most root canals typically require one or more appointments and can be done in our office. An access opening is made through the back or top of the tooth. The inflamed or infected areas are removed. The pulp canal is cleaned, rinsed and medicated. When the tooth has healed, it will be ready to have a permanent restoration.
At times the tooth requiring treatment has a complex root or the infection is such that it needs a specialist, called an endodontist, to examine and complete root canal therapy. Dr. Dahle or Dr. Tingey will work closely with our endodontic specialist to review your treatment case, send necessary records to their office, and place the crown after your root canal is completed. Our office staff will help coordinate your appointments, and help you understand your financial responsibility.