What about root canal, or endodontic treatment?

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root canalRoot canal treatment has been recommended to you.

What is root canal, or endodontic, treatment?

The tooth is a hard, mineral shell with a soft centre. This soft centre is made up of connective tissue: nerves, blood vessels, and other cells. If this tissue is irritated, or infected, it can start to breakdown. This will mostly lead to pain — initially prolonged discomfort to temperature changes, then spontaneous, throbbing pain. Occasionally there will be no symptoms, and the first sign of a problem is a “pimple” on the gums draining the infection. If untreated, this can lead to an acute infection with swelling, or progressive bone destruction. The treatment consists of removing the source of the infection – either by removing the whole tooth or by removing just the “soft centre”.

Root canal treatment involves removing any decay from the tooth, and then cleaning out the effected connective tissue with small instruments and disinfecting irrigants. It is then filled with a rubbery material called gutta percha. Treatment times and number of appointments vary depending on the degree of infection and the number of canals in the tooth.

smile-woman after root canalHow successful is root canal treatment? In the short term, it is almost 100% effective. The success rate is somewhat lower with teeth that have a long standing infection and it is less predictable for teeth that have been diagnosed with a crack.

How long will the treatment last? The long term success of root canal treatment, provided all parts of the canal system are cleaned and filled, is actually determined by the seal of the filling that goes on top. The best long term restoration of a tooth that has had root canal therapy is a crown. Other fillings can be used over the short term, but a crown provides the best long term chance for success.

How much does it cost? The cost is determined by the number of canals within the root(s). This varies between one on the front teeth, to four, or more, on the back molars.

An estimate based on the average number of canals in your affected tooth will be provided.

Copyright Dr. Kathleen A. Schenk ©2015. All rights reserved.