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Over 15 million root canal treatments are performed every year, making it one of the most common dental pro-cedures. A root canal treatment (or “RCT”) can save your natural tooth and prevent the need for replacement with an artificial tooth.

RCT is necessary when a tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed or infected by deep decay, trauma, fractures, or re-peated dental procedures. The typical symptoms are tooth pain, sensitivity to heat or cold, swelling and tender-ness in the adjacent gums, and discoloration of the tooth, with possible development of an abscess. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, RCT will be recommended for you by your dentist.


Root Canal Treatment Procedure

  • The endodontist will start with a digital x-ray of the tooth. Then the tooth will be tested for pain to bit-ing, palpitation, percussion, cold and heat sensitivity. The mobility of the tooth and the health of sur-rounding gum tissue will be assessed.
  • A local anesthetic is administered to insure that the tooth is numb.
  • A small protective sheet called a “dental dam” is placed over the area to isolate the tooth from the sur-rounding area in order to keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
  • An opening in the crown of the tooth is made. Very small instruments are used to clean and shape the pulp chamber and root canals to prepare the canal for filling.
  • The cleaned spaces are filled with a biocompatible material called “gutta-percha” with an adhesive ce-ment to ensure complete sealing of the root canals.
  • Then, in most cases, a temporary filling will be used to close the opening.
  • If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the tooth.

You will be able to drive home after your treatment, and you will likely be comfortable enough to re-turn to your normal routine.

After completion of endodontic therapy, you will need to your dentist as soon as possible to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. You will receive a postcard 6 months later to schedule a follow-up appointment, free of charge.