Root Canal (Endodontics)

Root Canal San Diego

Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment is used to save the teeth which would otherwise need to be removed. Root canal is the area within the root of the tooth that comprises of highly vascularized pulp tissue. When the pulp tissue gets decayed or infected, root canal therapy is done to remove the infected area. Before we move on to the procedure, let us first understand the structure of root canal.

Tooth structure: Tooth consists of two structures- crown, the upper portion of tooth that is observed in the oral cavity, and the root, the part that is connected to the jaw bone. The inner core or center of the tooth consists of soft tissue known as pulp, which comprises of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. The pulp present in the crown is contained in a pulp chamber and this chamber is connected to the root through a narrow space called root canal. This canal supplies nutrition through blood vessels.

Why do you

Endodontic treatments are needed for two main reasons:
Infection: An untreated dental decay can erode the enamel and may reach the pulp, causing infection of the pulp within the root canal. Antibiotics can’t treat infection inside teeth and root canal therapy is required to remove the infected tissue.Trauma: Exposure of pulp can also occur due to trauma or a fractured tooth. This can damage the pulp, making it more susceptible to infection. Trauma can occur during repeated fillings or dental procedures, which require preparing the tooth for crown.

The tooth with infected pulp has two treatment options- extraction of tooth or retaining the tooth by going through endodontic therapy. Once the infected pulp tissue is removed and filling is done, tooth function is restored.

What are the symptoms requiring endodontic treatment?

In the beginning of infection, you may not get any pain. But if left untreated, the infection may cause symptoms such as:

1. Intense tooth pain, which is aggravated by lying down and reduces when you sit up

2. Pain increases after taking cold food and cold drinks

3. Swelling near the tooth

4. Tooth pain radiating to head and jaw

5. As the infection progresses, it may lead to the formation of an abscess

How is the procedure done?

The duration of the treatment depends upon the amount of infection in the pulp. It may require one or more than three dental visits. There are three main steps involved in the procedure:
First, a dental drill is used to create an opening to access the infected pulp area. Once the dentist gains access to the pulp space, the infected material in the pulp chamber is removed with great precision. After the infected material is removed, the hollow space is cleaned by using thin dental files and sterile saline water.Once the proper cleaning of root canals is done, special filling material is used to close the canals and prevent further infections within the tooth.

The procedure is done using local anaesthesia, hence you do not experience much pain.