Root Canal Treatment

What is a root canal?

A root canal treatment is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This root canal treatment may save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.

At the center of your tooth is pulp. Pulp is a collection of blood vessels that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Symptoms of the infection can be identified as visible injury or swelling of the tooth, sensitivity to temperature or pain in the tooth and gums.

If you experience any of these symptoms, your referring dentist will most likely recommend non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. Root canal therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the degree of infection, complex tooth anatomy or treatment required. Healing for this type of treatment usually favorable. If your tooth is not amenable to endodontic treatment or the chance of success or healing is unfavorable, you will be informed at the time of consultation or when a complication becomes evident during or after treatment. Dr. Ok uses local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. In addition, we will provide nitrous oxide analgesia, if indicated. You will be able to drive home after your treatment unless you are taking sedative medications, and you probably will be comfortable returning to your normal routine. You can expect some discomfort, pain or swelling after the treatment. We call you for follow-up call after the treatment, and we found most of patients are comfortable or are managing well after the treatment. Unfortunately, about 3-5% of these cases might have “flare-up” – severe pain or swelling after the endodontic treatments, and we will try to manage with pain medicine along with antibiotics.

An example of a healthy tooth
Healthy Tooth
A tooth anatomy diagram highlighting pulp dentin and canal
Tooth Anatomy
A visual of tooth inflammation showing tooth decay and a inflamed pulp
Inflammation
A representation of a tooth with its canals cleaned
Cleaned Canals
An illustration of root canal filling of a tooth
Filling Placed
An example of a tooth healed by root canal therapy
Healed Tooth

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative 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 and be careful with chewing to avoid crack or fracture of the teeth.