Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure that is done when a tooth is badly infected or when a tooth has been traumatized.

Deep Cavities may Lead to the need for Root Canal Treatment

If a cavity gets deep enough, it can infect the nerves and blood vessels contained within the tooth. This is called an abscess and can be very painful, but not always. A root canal procedure removes the infected nerves and blood vessels from inside the tooth and thoroughly cleans out the bacteria. The tooth is then filled with a plastic-like filling material called gutta percha. This seals the tooth and helps prevent re-infection.

A Tooth may need Root Canal Treatment after a Trauma or Injury

Sometimes, after a tooth has experienced a trauma or injury, the blood vessels and nerves within a tooth gradually die over time. This can cause the tooth to darken and possibly be sensitive to hot or cold. The root canal procedure is performed in this case so that the dead blood vessels and nerves do not become infected or cause pain.

A Crown is often needed after a Root Canal to Protect the Tooth

If a back tooth requires root canal treatment, it is important to protect the tooth afterwards with a crown. These teeth endure great amounts of force when chewing and if left uncovered, can become brittle over time after the Root Canal procedure. Most front teeth only require a filling after a Root Canal procedure because they do not generate as much force. However, depending on the amount of quality tooth structure remaining, a crown may be indicated for front teeth after a root canal.

Radiograph of a tooth with a root canal

Radiograph of a tooth with a root canal