Once upon a time, if you had a tooth with
a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today,
with a special dental procedure called a root canal therapy
you may save that tooth. Inside each tooth is the pulp which
provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth, it runs like a
thread down through the root. When the pulp is diseased or
injured, the pulp tissue dies. If you don't remove it, your
tooth gets infected and you could lose it. After the dentist
removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off
to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the
tooth to help make it stronger.
Most of the time, a root canal is a
relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort
involving one to three visits. Best of all, it can save your
tooth and your smile!
Your dentist uses root canal treatment to
find the cause and then treat problems of the tooth's soft
core (the dental pulp). Years ago, teeth with diseased or
injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has
given dentists a safe way of saving teeth.
Treatment often involves from one to
three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or
endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the
pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root
canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
Here's how your tooth is saved through
First, an opening is made through the
crown of the tooth.
An opening is made through the crown
of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
The pulp is then removed. The root
canal(s) is cleaned and shaped to a form that can be
The pulp is removed, and the root
canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped
Medications may be put in the pulp
chamber and root canal(s) to help get rid of germs and
A temporary filling will be placed in
the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental
visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few
days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help
control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
The pulp chamber and root canals are
filled and sealed.
The temporary filling is removed and
the pulp chamber and root canal(s) are cleaned and
In the final step, a gold or
porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth. If an
endodontist performs the treatment, he or she will
recommend that you return to your family dentist for
this final step.
The crown of the tooth is then