A root canal treatment is needed when the innermost part of the tooth — containing the nerve — becomes infected. The most common causes for this are large cavities and trauma to the tooth.
By getting a root canal treatment, you are able to prevent reinfection and save the tooth from needing extracted or falling out. This is done by removing the infected pulp, and then the inside of the tooth gets cleaned, disinfected, filled, and sealed.
Our pulp is the deepest layer underneath a tooth, and contains a cluster of blood vessels and nerves. This pulp provides nutrients to developing teeth. You might wonder if removing this pulp during a root canal will affect the health of your teeth. But once a tooth fully develops the pulp can be safely removed, because our teeth get nourished by surrounding tissue instead.
Root canals have had a bad reputation for being painful and scary, but modern root canals have advanced a lot. They’re really not that much different than getting a filling! Millions of root canals are also performed every year.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you might need a root canal:
When in doubt, come in for an appointment with Dr. Sutherland! We can also detect whether you need this level of treatment during your regular cleaning.
We completely numb the tooth, and provide additional anesthetic as needed to keep you completely pain free. We will make a small entrance on the biting surface of the tooth so we can reach the root canals. Then, we clean out the infected pulp and disinfect the canals.
Sometimes, a temporary medication is placed at the end of the roots at this point, and a temporary filling is put on the biting surface. You would need to return a couple of weeks later to complete the treatment.
Then, we place a special filling material and seal the canals from any bacteria that would make a home inside. Finally, a filling is placed in the small access hole.
Following a root canal treatment, a crown is necessary to support the tooth structure. If a crown is not placed in a timely manner, the tooth will break, possibly resulting in tooth loss.