Root canal treatment
Has your dentist or endodontist told you that you need root canal treatment? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. Learn more about root canal treatment and how it can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile.
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system.
How is a root canal treatment done
- The dentist gives you a local anesthetic (freezing).
- To protect your tooth from bacteria in your saliva during the treatment, the dentist places a rubber dam around the tooth being treated.
- The dentist makes an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
- Using very fine dental instruments, the dentist removes the pulp by cleaning and enlarging the root canal system.
- After the canal has been cleaned, the dentist fills and seals the canal.
- The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling.
Root canal or endodontic treatment
Root canal or endodontic treatment—treatment done to the inside of the tooth—is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
During root canal or endodontic treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime.