Sometimes root canal therapy is the only way to save a tooth.
When the nerve of a tooth becomes infected or abscessed from deep decay, a tooth gets cracked, or a tooth receives trauma – sometimes the only option to a tooth extraction is endodontics, which is commonly called “root canal therapy”. During a root canal the tooth is numbed and then the unhealthy nerve is removed. Medication is then placed in the tooth to treat the bacterial abscess (infection). After the infection is removed and treated a filling is put in place of the unhealthy nerve.
Endodontic Surgery (Root Canal Surgery)
Some people consider endodontic therapy, or root canal treatment, an oral surgery in itself. Since this doesn’t involve an incision but an opening in the tooth into the pulp chamber, the dental profession typically reserves the term ‘root canal surgery’ for the apicoectomy procedures that sometimes becomes necessary. The apicoectomy procedure involves ‘peeling’ back a portion of the gum tissue over the root(s) that have failed to become disinfected and pain-free after traditional endodontic therapy. The troublesome root tip is shaved, shortened, or removed entirely and the bottom end of the root is re-sealed. Laser disinfection of these sites is also helpful to hasten the healing period and make for a more uneventful healing period.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens During Root Canal?
After the tooth is numbed, a small opening is made into the tooth where the insides are cleansed and shaped. A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is filled into the tooth and the opening is then sealed with sterile cotton pellets and a temporary filling. After a couple of weeks, the tooth is typically restored and a crown is placed over the treated tooth for protection. If the tooth lacks sufficient structure, a dental post may be placed inside.