Non Surgical Root Canal

What is a root canal?

If you have been told that a root canal is necessary to save one of your teeth, it is important that you understand why this procedure is necessary and what happens during root canal treatment.  Root canal treatment (endodontics) treats disorders of the nerve (also called the pulp) of the tooth.  It used to be that a tooth with a diseased or infected nerve had to be removed.  In 95 percent of the cases today, however, this is no longer true.  We believe in saving teeth instead of removing them.  We make every effort to help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime!

What makes root a canal necessary?

The following are the most common factors contributing to a need for root canal treatment:

  • Physical irritation caused by deep decay or a very large filling
  • Severe gum disease
  • Trauma, such as a physical blow to a tooth or a constant striking of a tooth in the opposite jaw that traumatizes the tooth

Regardless of the initial cause, the tooth pulp becomes irritated and infected.  Bacteria grow with the tooth pulp, causing pressure and pain, sometimes accompanied by swelling of the face.  Sometimes the deterioration of the pulp happens so gradually that little pain is felt.  Eventually the entire nerve dies.  As this happens, the bone surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed, which may lead to the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth.

What care follows the treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed by either your dentist or root canal specialist (endodontist), your dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond. To prevent further decay, continue to practice good dental hygiene.

Once the root canal treatment has been completed, you should consider the following:

  1. Brittleness – a non-vital (root canal treated) tooth is more brittle than a vital one and is more susceptible to fracture.  Therefore, in most cases, we recommend that your root canal tooth be crowned (capped) following treatment.
  2. Discoloration – you may notice that your root canal treated tooth (especially your front tooth) has undergone a change in colour.  Though this discoloration is of no medical concern, you may be interested in having the tooth whitened.  Be sure to ask us about tooth whitening if we do not decide to place a crown on the tooth.