Root Canal Treatment If your tooth's nerve chamber becomes infected by decay, root canal treatment is often the only way to save your tooth. Inside your tooth's hard outer shell is a nourishing pulp of blood vessels, lymph vessels, and nerves. The root canals, which also contain the same types of neurovascular bundles, extend from the pulp through the tooth root, to the bone. Deep tooth decay, or an injury, can cause serious damage and infection to the pulp's nerves and vessels. A root canal (also called endodontic treatment) cleans out the infected pulp and the root canal getting rid of the source of the bone abscess. Symptoms of a tooth that might need root canal treatment: Spontaneous pain or throbbing while biting. Bad sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks. Severe decay or an injury that creates an abscess (infection) in the bone. Bone, gum, or cheek swelling. Unexplained “bumps on the gums”.
Causes of infected teeth: Tooth decay Advanced gum disease Crowns Trauma Fractures The Procedure Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 After the tooth is anesthetized, an opening is made through the crown into the pulp chamber. The length of the root canals is determined Unhealthy pulp is removed. The canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped. Step 4 Step 5
Canals are filled and sealed. A metal post may be added for structural support or to retain restorative materials. Common Questions What are my other choices? It depends on the nature of the problem. Generally speaking, other choices are to do nothing at the present time or extract the tooth. If the tooth is abscessed, then it’s unwise not to do something because of the risk that the infection can spread to surrounding tissues. Is there always pain with an infected tooth? Not always. If the nerve has died, then the tooth may never hurt or until an abscess forms or the fibers that hold the tooth in the bone become irritated. How many visits will a root canal take? Most anterior teeth can be completed in one visit, which will take 1 – 2 hours. Treatment of posterior teeth may require 2 or more visits. If more than one visit is needed, then we will place a temporary filling in the tooth. Will the root canal be painful? We do our best to control the pain. If the tooth is infected, we usually treat the infection and inflammation with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications first, then we schedule you for the root canal treatment. Reducing the inflammation allows the anesthetic to work better. After the root canal, there will likely be transient discomfort. How long this discomfort lasts depends on many things such as the extent of the original infection, any underlying systemic diseases that delay healing, and the patient’s postoperative hygiene and care of the tooth. If there is any swelling before the root canal, it is expected to disappear after the root canal. If the swelling doesn’t disappear or if it disappears and comes back, or if there should be any strong pain, call our office at 402-905-2950 or text or leave a voicemail at 402-709-3418. Will I need to get my tooth filled or crowned after the root canal? Yes. A filling is always needed to prevent saliva and food from entering into the tooth. Posterior teeth require a crown to protect the tooth from fracture. Anterior teeth require crowns depending on the extent of damage to the natural crown by fracture or decay. The tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. Usually a gold or porcelain crown adds further protection.