Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment, or endodontics, may be necessary when a patient experiences pain due to inflammation or an abscess involving the root of a tooth that is no longer healthy.

In the past, patients had reason to dread the prospect of root canal treatment; however, with new techniques and adequate pain amelioration, it is now a fairly simple procedure that can be completed in one to three visits. To maintain proper alignment of the teeth, root canal treatment is preferable to extraction. The tooth may be saved if it has good bone support, a solid surface, and healthy gum tissue beneath it.

The Procedure
The procedure involves gaining access to and cleansing the root canals, plus packing and rebuilding the tooth with a filling or a crown. The amount that can be done within a single appointment will depend on the complexity of the treatment required. The procedure begins with a local anesthetic, although other types of anesthetic are available. The affected tooth is isolated with a rubber dam to protect the tooth from bacteria and saliva while the canals are being cleansed.

Next, any obstructions blocking the root canals are removed with an ultrasonic handpiece. The advantage of using this tool is that any unwanted material is vibrated loose. Tiny instruments will then be used to clean and reshape the root canals. X-rays may be taken to ensure that the roots are thoroughly clean. If not, medicated packing material will be applied, and the rest of the cleansing procedure will be done at the next visit.

When the root canals are completely clean, gutta-percha, a rubbery material that seals the canals and prevents bacterial invasion is used to pack the space. Finally, filling material or a temporary crown is applied to the tooth. At a later date, the color-matched permanent crown will be securely seated in place.

Dr. Couzens will gladly answer any questions or concerns you have about root canal treatment.