Endodontics (Root canals)


1) What is root canal treatment?
2) What is the dental pulp?
3) What happens if the pulp gets injured?
4) What does treatment involve?
5) How long do root canalled and restored teeth last?

What is root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is used to treat problems of the tooth's soft core (the dental pulp). Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given dentists a safe way of saving teeth.

What is the dental pulp?

The pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaws.

What happens if the pulp gets injured?

When the pulp is diseased or injured and can't repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let germs (bacteria) enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip and in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment our endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed. Following root canal treatment all back teeth and some front teeth need to be restored with a cap(crown) .The crown can be made either of all porcelain, porcelain with metal or all metal. The crown helps to protect the root canalled tooth.

How long do root canalled and restored teeth last?

Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the tissues around it nourish the root(s) of a treated tooth, your tooth will remain healthy. After a few years the crown will have to be changed due to wear.