Root Canal Therapy is when the Endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp (nerve), carefully cleans and shapes the nerve canals of the tooth’s root and then seals the prepared space. Most treatment is performed in one or two appointments ranging from 30-90 minutes each (depending on the number of canals). Once treatment is completed, you may be instructed to return to your dentist for a more permanent restoration. This restoration of the tooth is an important part of the treatment because it seals the cleaned canals from the oral environment, protects the tooth and restores it to function.
Root Canal Therapy (Endodontic treatment) is necessary when the nerve (pulp) becomes inflamed or infected. The most common reasons for inflammation or infection are deep cavities, repeated dental procedures, cracks or chips. Trauma can also cause inflammation and often shows up as discoloration of the tooth. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
There are several indications for a need for treatment including prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, spontaneous pain, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums. Transient sensitivity to cold may just be due to exposed root surfaces or heavy teeth grinding. If the cold sensationlingers, and radiates up to give you a headache, chances are there has been irreversible damage to the nerve.
Sometimes there are no symptoms, and diagnosis is made from a routine x-ray. Other times root canal treatment is recommended as a result of the bacteria from the decay extending into the nerve (pulp) of the tooth.