Root Canal (Endodontics)
The Red Bud Dental team has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your root canal treatment.
“Dr. Hsu was wonderful. He explained everything he was going to do, asked me questions along the way, checked up on me to make sure I wasn’t in pain, and when we were done he explained all of my x-rays and gave me his best opinion on how I should proceed with future appointments and dental work.”
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Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes, root canal treatment is the only way to treat an infection and alleviate pain. The long-term benefits of root canal therapy may seem ominous at first, but they are well worth the risk. All dentists will tell their patients to at least consider this treatment as a last resort to save a tooth before recommending extraction.
In the case of severely decayed teeth, the only option is a root canal procedure. The dental pulp becomes infected if a cavity is not treated in a timely manner. When decay spreads to the pulp—which contains the tooth’s vital nerves—the soft tissue inside the tooth reacts, resulting in discomfort (the famous and dreaded toothache). In the long term, an abscess can form on the sides of the gums the infection spreads to the tip of the tooth root.
Video 01:00 If you have an abscessed tooth, that means the pulp of tooth is infected and you need root canal therapy.
What is a root canal?
Dental pulp is removed from the inside of a tooth and replaced with gutta-percha, a biocompatible filling material, during root canal therapy (also known as endodontic treatment).
The pulp is the soft tissue found in the center of each tooth and reaches down to the tip of each tooth-root. It is housed in a central chamber and a few canals that run down each root, hence the term “root canal”. Once the pulp has been removed, the tooth is effectively dead and no longer painful.
The dentist must first create an “access hole” on the top of the tooth in order to begin this procedure. The inner chamber of the tooth can be accessed through this small hole. The infected pulp is removed from the chamber and canals with special instruments. Afterwards, the infected tissue is taken out, and the chamber and canals are thoroughly cleaned and filled before sealing the access hole. To complete the restoration, a dental crown is frequently required.
What is the alternative to having a root canal?
The only alternative to root canal therapy is tooth removal. A root canal procedure is usually the last resort when a tooth can no longer be saved by other means. A root canal should be performed as soon as the dentist indicates it. If not done immediately, there is no choice but to extract the tooth if the infection spreads to the surrounding bone.
Click to enlarge. Illustration showing an example of a root canal procedure.
Root canal therapy is an option that we recommend to patients who want to save a tooth. It is less invasive and more cost-effective than removing the tooth and replacing it with an implant or a dental bridge.
Should I get a root canal?
A root canal is always recommended for a severely damaged tooth. There is no alternative to natural teeth when it comes to tooth replacement.
Root canal therapy may be an option if you have a severely decayed tooth. Our dentist will determine if you need that. To determine the tooth’s vitality and the health of the surrounding tissues, the dentist will need x-rays. In the event that you decide against having a root canal, you will almost certainly be required to have the tooth extracted.