When teeth have died, or have become so sensitive that they start to cause pain, a root canal may be required. Many root canals are completed in one appointment and patients normally should feel no discomfort during the procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a great option for saving a tooth as long as it is still in good enough shape to have a restoration placed. If a tooth has died and become infected, causing severe pain, or has become extremely hypersensitive a root canal is usually recommended. A common misconception is that receiving a root canal is terribly painful. This is incorrect. A root canal appointment is very similar to a regular appointment for a filling with the exception that the appointment is generally lengthier. The first step in root canal therapy involves shaping the tooth so that an access opening can be made to the pulp chamber. At this stage special instruments and files are used which clean and shape the canals. The nerve, any necrotic tissue, and bacteria are removed and the canal is sterilized. At this point the canal is obturated or filled with a rubber like substance called gutta percha. The root canal is now complete and the tooth receives the appropriate restoration.
*Teeth are generally weaker after receiving root canal therapy and are prone to fractures. It is generally recommended that a root canaled tooth receives a crown.