Endodontics is the dental term for root canal therapy. This treatment is recommended when the nerve inside the tooth has been damaged and must be removed and a filling material placed inside the tooth to remove infection and prevent further bacterial invasion inside the tooth. A crown is typically placed over teeth that have received root canal therapy, which serves to protect and strengthen the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment
Today, root canals are really just a more complex filling. Advanced anesthetics and sedation options help even the most fearful patient stay relaxed and remember little to nothing about the visit. The procedure to clean inside the tooth and place special filling material is an intricate and delicate procedure that requires excellent vision and tactile feel to provide the very best results. Typically, the treatment is fast and efficient. When performed in our office, it is very common for patients who need root canal therapy to have the procedure and receive an in-office CEREC all-ceramic inlay/overlay in the very same appointment. This consolidates visits for our patients, resolves teeth pain, and protects them so no further damage can occur.
What to Expect from an Endodontics Procedure
Soreness similar to a bruise is very common after a root canal procedure. This sensation is typically managed with Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter medication and lasts only a day or so. Although the nerve has been removed from inside the tooth, there are still pressure and sensory fibers located around the teeth in the periodontal ligament space found between the teeth and bone. Many people are not aware that teeth actually are suspended inside the bone with thousands of ligament fibers that act as shock absorbers. This allows teeth to absorb an impact and remain flexible under tremendous load, These ligaments remain after root canal therapy and provide a protective function.
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).
While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.
Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.
At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.
You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.