Each tooth has its own nerve and blood supply which enters the tooth at the tip of the tooth’s roots. This tissue then travels within small tunnels, or root canals, up the center of the roots to the pulp chamber in the middle of the tooth.
Injury, trauma or deep filling to a tooth may cause the pulp to become infected and eventually, the pulp may die. Dead or dying tissue inside the tooth causes swelling and pressure within the tooth and in the tissues surrounding the tooth. This dead or dying tissue is also a great breeding ground for bacteria, which can then cause infection and dental abscess. Symptoms of a dead or dying tooth include pain when biting, pain to temperature extremes and swelling.
What Is Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a procedure to remove damaged or dead pulp tissue from the tooth. The root canals are cleaned out and reshaped using a series of files (like tiny pipe cleaners that fit inside the root canals) and disinfected with various antimicrobial rinses. The disinfected root canals are then sealed off with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. This process may take more than one appointment, depending on the level of infection and difficulty navigating the root canals. At each appointment, your comfort is important to us. Even in cases with patients who have a history of being difficult to numb Dr. Semerad and Dr. Larsen are able to achieve profound anesthesia using a multitude of numbing techniques.
After the root canal is completed, you may be advised to place a crown or onlay over the tooth. This helps reinforce the tooth and prevent fracture.