Root Canal Therapy
Root canals are tiny passageways that branch off from beneath the top of the tooth, coursing their way vertically, until they reach the tip of the root. Each tooth has between 1-4 roots and one or more canals in each root.
Many tooth problems involve infections that spread to the roots containing blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. A traumatic injury to a tooth can also compromise the roots and their contents, leading to similar problems.
A diseased inner tooth brings a host of problems; pain and sensitivity are some of the first indications of a problem; but inside, a spreading infection can cause small pockets of pus to develop, leading to an abscess, that can spread to other body parts.
Root canal therapy is a remarkable treatment with a very high rate of success, and involves removing the diseased tissue, halting the spread of infection and restoring the healthy portion of the tooth. In fact, root canal therapy is designed to save the tooth; before the procedure was developed and gained acceptance, the only alternative for treating a diseased tooth was extraction.
Root canal therapy usually entails one to three visits. During the first visit, a small access is created through the top of the tooth and into the inner chamber. Diseased tissue is removed, the inner chamber cleansed and disinfected, and the tiny canals reshaped. The cleansed chamber and canals are filled with an elastic material and medication designed to prevent infection. If necessary, the access opening is temporarily filled until a permanent build up sealer is made. The tooth may need a crown to ensure long term success.
Most patients who have root canal experience little or no discomfort or pain and enjoy a restored tooth that can last almost as long as its healthy original.