Root Canal Therapy - The Procedure

Dr. Melina Cozby Apr 30, 2015

A senior woman sitting outside on a bench and smilingA root canal infection is a serious condition that must be treated immediately to prevent tooth loss. This infection occurs when plaque bacteria are able to reach the root canals of the tooth. Each tooth contains between one and four root canals, which house the pulp, the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that nourish the teeth. When the pulp becomes infected, it begins to break down, and the bacteria multiply. To save the tooth, we can perform the root canal therapy procedure to remove the pulp from the tooth. At Forney Family Dentistry & Orthodontics, we have had great success in restoring oral health with this safe and effective restorative dentistry procedure. Contact us to learn more about root canal therapy.

Cleaning the Root Canals

To begin the procedure, we will administer a numbing agent to ensure that you do not experience any pain during treatment. Once your tooth and gums are completely numb, we will create a hole, which will provide access to the root canals. To clean out the root canals and remove the infected pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria, we will use special instruments called root canal files. The first file that is inserted will have the smallest diameter. Our dentists will gently insert the file into the access hole, reaching down to the roots of the tooth. The file can be used to loosen the decayed debris, and water is used to flush it out of the tooth. Next, we will use a file with a slightly larger diameter to clean the tooth. This process is repeated, each time using a slightly larger file, until all signs of infection are removed.

Filling the Root Canals

Once the cleaning process is complete, we will fill the hollow chambers of the tooth to restore strength and prevent re-infection. We use gutta percha (a rubber compound) and a sealer paste to replace the pulp and nerve tissues in the root canals. To close the access hole that was created during root canal therapy, we will use a tooth-colored composite resin filling.

Capping the Tooth

Unfortunately, root canal therapy greatly weakens the affected tooth, making it more susceptible to breakage. To withstand the daily forces of biting and chewing, we often recommend the placement of a dental crown. We fabricate same-day crowns so your entire treatment plan can be completed in just one visit. To fit you for a crown, we may remove some existing tooth structure. Then, we will take digital impressions of the tooth. These impressions guide our E4D milling machine in crafting a crown that precisely fits your tooth. Once the custom crown is ready, we will secure it to your tooth using durable dental cement. Our crowns are made of beautiful dental porcelain, which offers a natural appearance and maintains the aesthetics of your smile.

If you suspect you have a root canal infection, we urge you to contact our practice as soon as possible. Early intervention provides us with the best hope of saving your tooth. 

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