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Root Canal Therapy

A root canal procedure is considered one of the most effective methods of saving and retaining a tooth that has been severely compromised by dental decay or injury.

According to the most recent American Dental Association Survey of Dental Services, almost 41,000 root canals are performed every day in the U.S. and close to 15 million are done over the course of a year. Since the success rate of endodontic treatment is well over 90%, and because maintaining a patient’s natural dentition is essential to overall oral health, root canal therapy as opposed to having the involved tooth extracted is a widely recommended option in care.

A root canal procedure is indicated when the vital tissues, which are referred to as the “pulp,” become inflamed or infected in response to an injury, deep dental decay or an advanced case of periodontal disease. Every tooth has either a single, central canal or multiple ones that contain the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue, which comprise the dental pulp. These pulp tissues are essential for a tooth to develop, mature and erupt into place. Once a tooth has emerged, the dental pulp provides nourishment to keep the tooth vital and serves to alert an individual that decay or some other type of damage is affecting the tooth. Having sensitivity to various stimuli like biting down and eating or drinking hot or cold items is a warning from the nerves inside your tooth that dental disease or trauma is taking a toll on the tooth, or infection is brewing. The degree of pain that you experience depends on the extent of the damage and nerve involvement.

When should a root canal procedure be considered?

When the dental pulp is severely damaged or dead, a root canal procedure is advised. However, if there is enough healthy tooth structure and bone support surrounding the tooth, it can be saved and maintained. Even though a fully developed tooth does not require the dental pulp to function, a root canal can effectively preserve a natural tooth. During the procedure, the dentist removes the diseased dental pulp, cleans the inner part of the tooth, and fills the prepared canals with a filling material that is compatible with the body. Once the canals are sealed and the tooth is free of symptoms, it will need a suitable restoration to restore its appearance, function, and strength to withstand the pressures in the mouth. With proper care, a tooth that has undergone root canal therapy and restoration can be maintained for many years. Thanks to modern technology and advanced techniques, getting a root canal procedure is now as comfortable and straightforward as getting a routine dental filling. While some root canals can be completed in a single visit, others may require 2 or 3 appointments. The number of visits necessary for the completion of a root canal procedure depends on factors such as the number and anatomy of the canals within the tooth, as well as the presence of an active infection. It is crucial to seek timely care when root canal therapy is recommended. If left untreated, the damage to the tooth and the risk of infection increase, along with the negative consequences for oral health and overall well-being.