If you are experiencing pain that is spontaneous in nature, or if a stimulus such as hot or cold results in pain that lingers for several minutes, you may require a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that is performed to remove inflamed, infected, or necrotic tissue from the center and root of the tooth.
- Teeth that have decay that extends into the vital tissues (dental pulp) will become infected and require a root canal. Sometimes teeth that are cracked, or teeth that have undergone multiple traumatic events (large fillings, crowns, broken cusps) will become chronically inflamed, and sometimes will become necrotic and require root canal therapy.
- The root canal procedure consists of making a small opening in the chewing surface of your tooth to gain access to the dental pulp. The dental pulp, which extends down the root of your tooth (the root canal), is cleaned with small handheld and rotary instruments, then irrigated with special medicaments to remove the infected tissue and bacteria that are present and sterilize tooth.
- The canal in the center of the root is then filled with a gutta percha, a rubber material, which inhibits bacteria from re-entering the tooth.
- Once the root canal procedure is complete, the tooth is restored to function by placing a crown, or cap, on the tooth to protect it from fracturing, as well as preventing bacteria from getting back into the dental pulp space.