Menu Close

Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Services for oral health

What is a Root Canal?

“Root canal” is the term used to describe in the center of the tooth the natural cavity. The soft area of the root canal is the pulp or pulp chamber. The nerve of the tooth lies inside the root canal.  A root canal treatment is used to repair and save a damaged or infected tooth and is a type of endodontic therapy that is often recommended. The nerve and pulp will be removed during a root canal procedure and the inside of the tooth will be cleaned and sealed. The tissue around the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form without treatment.

Infected or damaged teeth can be very uncomfortable for the patient and is often very painful especially if left untreated. When left untreated, this type of infection and disease may cause the tooth to die and necessitate tooth extraction.  This may occur if injury or decay reaches deep into the tooth, past the outer enamel layer.  To restore the health of the tooth and avoid the need for extraction, our skilled dentist will remove the infected and injured tissues from within the tooth, clean the tooth, and fill it with a medicated material. We will then cap the tooth with a restoration, such as a dental crown, to return the tooth to its original shape and structure. In most cases, a root canal can be completed in only one or two comfortable visits to our office.

After the tooth has emerged through the gums, a tooth’s nerve is not vital to the health and function of a tooth. Its only function is sensory to give hot or cold feeling. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the tooth’s daily function.

We may recommend a root canal if decay has affected the nerve of the tooth or if your tooth has received trauma or injury. Root canal treatment has a reputation for being a painful treatment. In reality, however, root canal treatment can often be completed with minimal discomfort thanks to advanced techniques, tools, and anesthesia. We know that these procedures are never viewed as “fun” but we will work hard to provide you with a pleasant, comfortable experience each time you visit our office.   We love hearing, “that wasn’t as near as bad as I thought it would be” from our patients.

Why Does Tooth Pulp Need to Be Removed?

When the nerve tissue or pulp of a tooth is damaged, it breaks down and within the pulp chamber bacteria begin to multiply. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause a tooth to become infected or abscessed. An abscess is a pocket full of pus forming at the end of the tooth’s roots. An abscess happens when the infection spreads beyond the ends of the tooth’s roots all the way. Besides an abscess, an infection in a tooth’s root canal may cause. Swelling that can spread across the face, neck, or head to other areas. Bone loss around the root’s tip. Drainage issues that stretch out from the root. A hole with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin can occur through the side of the tooth.

What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp?

The nerve and pulp of a tooth may become irritated, inflamed, and infected by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, cracks or chips in the tooth, or face trauma.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if the surrounding bone has any signs of infection. Local anesthesia will then be used to numb the area near the tooth. Because the nerve is dead, anesthesia may not be needed, but most surgeons still anesthetize the area and make the patient more relaxed and comfortable.

The tooth will be drilled into to make an access hole. The pulp is removed from the tooth along with bacteria, decayed nerve tissue and related debris. Using root canal files, the cleaning process is performed. Subsequently, a series of these increasing diameter files are each placed in the access hole and worked down the entire tooth length to scrape and scrub the root canal sides. Periodically water or sodium hypochlorite is used to flush the debris away.

Post surgery

Once the tooth has been cleaned thoroughly, it is sealed. Sometimes it is necessary to wait a week for the tooth to be sealed. For example, if an infection occurs, we may put an anti-biotic inside the tooth to clear it up. Other times, it is possible to stick the tooth on the same cleansing day. If the root canal is not completed on the same day, a temporary filling of contaminants such as saliva and food between appointments will be placed in the outer hole in the tooth.

A sealing pulp and a rubber compound named gutta percha are placed in the roots of the tooth on the next appointment to fill the inside of the tooth. A filling is placed to fill the external entrance hole created at the start of treatment. Further restoration of the tooth may be the last step. Due to the fact that a tooth that needs a root canal, has a large filling, a crown and post, or other restoration methods should be applied to the tooth to guard, prevent breakage and restore it fully. Your dentist will talk to you about the need for further dental work.

Drs. Louis and Barry Sandor specialize in providing comfortable, effective root canals in Freehold, New Jersey and have done so for many years. Please contact us if you have any questions or to schedule your next appointment.