Root Canal Therapy
A root canal is a procedure that removes decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces the pulp with strengthening filler.
A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, a root canal is performed, preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity and saves a tooth that, in the past, would have to have been pulled.
A local anesthesia, such as lidocaine, can make most teeth painless to treat. The procedure begins with the patient undergoing anesthesia. A dental dam is then used to isolate the tooth and the tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp. The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals. With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals and the tooth is filled again with cutting-edge biocompatible filling material. A temporary covering is used to cover the accessed opening. Patients must return to their general dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth. Between treatments, "over the counter" medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen usually work well to help with any pain or discomfort. Occasionally, a dentist may write a prescription for a stronger pain reliever when necessary.