Root Canal Therapy

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Root Canal Therapy

What is a Root Canal?

A "root canal" is a term used to describe the natural cavity in the center of a tooth. This area contains a soft area known as the pulp chamber that houses the nerves. If it becomes irritated or infected due to cavities, trauma or decay, root canal therapy is necessary. If left untreated, the infection can cause an abscess, which can lead to swelling of the face and neck, and bone loss around the roots of teeth.

Symptoms of a Root Canal Problem

  • Severe tooth pain and sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
  • Tooth becomes discolored
  • Swollen, tender gums
  • A reoccurring pimple that forms on the gums

Root Canal Therapy Procedure

  1. The dentist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the dentist places a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
  2. The dentist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
  3. The root canals are filled with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material, which is in turn placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored.
  4. Finally, your dentist will place the crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.

Anterior and Posterior Root Canal Therapy

Here at Concord Point Family Dentistry, we offer anterior and posterior root canals.

For root canals performed on the anterior teeth (which include the front-most incisors and canines), your dentist will drill the hole on the inner (lingual) surface. These teeth do not generally suffer enough stress and force to make a crown necessary.  However, always keep in mind that every patient's situation is unique, so the final determination for treatment will be based on the dentist's evaluation and recommendation. 

Due to their different location and function, posterior teeth, including the bicuspids and molars, require that the root canal hole be drilled on the chewing surface.  Since these teeth typically bear the greatest force, they need added protection.  Therefore, posterior root canals typically require a dental crown to be applied to the affected tooth.  Again, this assessment would be made on a case-by-case basis.    

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a root canal problem, please call Concord Point Family Dentistry at 410-939-1780 to schedule a consultation.