Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy?

Root canal therapy is designed to correct disorders of the dental pulp -- the soft tissue inside the center of the tooth. Dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Teeth with abscessed, or infected, nerves were once removed with corrective therapy. But now, in 95 percent of these cases of pulpal infection, the natural tooth can be saved through modern endodontic procedures. Also called pulp specialists, endodontists have undergone specialized training in performing root canal therapy.

What causes pulpal nerve damage?

The most common causes of pulpal nerve damage are:

What are the symptoms of pulpal nerve damage?

The following are the most common symptoms of pulpal nerve damage. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

The symptoms of pulpal nerve damage may resemble other oral health conditions. Consult a dentist, or other oral health specialist, for diagnosis.

Why is root canal therapy necessary?

Without treatment, the infection of the dental pulp will spread to the bone around the tooth, making it unable to hold the tooth in place.

What does the root canal procedure involve?

Treatment begins with the initial removal of the tooth crown, or top, to allow access to the pulpal tissue. Once the affected pulpal tissue is exposed, the affected area is removed. The area surrounding and containing the pulpal tissue is carefully cleaned, enlarged, and shaped to provide a clean, bondable surface for filling with a permanent filler to prohibit any further infection and discomfort. After filling, a crown is fabricated to complete the rescue and restoration of the natural tooth. The procedure is generally spread over several visits to assure the infected pulp and associated bacteria have been adequately drained.

What post-operative care is needed following a root canal?

Once the root canal therapy is completed, there will be changes to adapt to, including:

In addition, soft tissue inflammation may be a source of irritation in the weeks following surgery. Consult your dentist, or other oral health specialist, for a treatment approach to help control any post-operative swelling and discomfort.

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