Root canal treatment is the treatment of a tooth that is sick, abscessed, severally broken, too long and in the way of the bite, hurting due to a pulp stone, or hurting for other reasons. A small entry is made into the tooth and the little tunnels or canals (where the nerve and blood vessels live) inside the tooth are cleaned and reshaped. A filling is placed inside these little canals to seal them off from germs (hence the term "root canal filling"). Most of the time a root canal filling is the only treatment that can help save a tooth with the aforementioned conditions. A crown [see above)] is then often recommended as the final restoration.
Depending on the number of teeth and severity affected, root canals usually require one to two visits not including any follow-up visits. Your dentist or Endodontist will numb the area around the affected tooth, or may offer you the option of mild sedation. A rubber dental dam is placed and the tooth is then drilled to the pulp area either through the top or the back of the tooth. The actual root canals are measured after some of the pulp has been removed. This is done so that the dentist can clean the entire canal, and so that enough of the filling material will be used to completely fill the canal. The actual measuring is done with either x-rays or electronic imaging devices.
All of the diseased pulp in the tooth is removed, and the canal is cleaned out thoroughly with an antiseptic solution. This solution will clean all of the canals within the tooth. The canals are then filled with guttapercha, a flexible plastic material. A temporary filling is then put on top of that. A crown or permanent filling will be done after there has been no sign of infection. Crowns are most common since the root canal procedure weakens the tooth. The crown is usually placed as soon as possible, within a month or less.
Expect two to three days of soreness after the procedure, or longer if the infection in the root canal was severe.