What Is A Root Canal?

Author: Dr. Alison Vitelli, DMD

Give Kids A Smile“Doc, I’m in PAIN!” We hear this phrase very often, and it is sometimes followed by “PLEASE take the tooth out!” Pain can be so intense that the patient will do whatever it takes to make the pain go away as fast as possible. This is completely understandable, but not the best solution most of the time.

Every situation and clinical scenario is unique and yes, sometimes, the best solution for dental pain is extraction of the tooth. But this is when we would perform a detailed examination and radiographs of the nuisance area. After the thorough exam, we are able to determine if the tooth is salvageable or not. Most often than not, we can save the tooth. There is nothing like a natural tooth, and every time we can do something to save, we will!

The best way to bring a painful tooth back to a stable and healthy state is by performing a root canal. A root canal is a procedure that removes the inflamed nerve tissue from the tooth, removes and disinfects the dentin from the canals where the nerve used to be, and seals the canals with an inert material. This way, we preserve the integrity of the tooth and its function. As general dentists, we are capable of performing several degrees of root canal therapy (RCT), but certain teeth have more challenging anatomy or clinical presentation, which would be better addressed by a specialist (endodontist). For example, sometimes, previous root canals fail because of missed canals, or faulty restorations over the tooth, which cause leakage of bacteria into the canals. These cases are mostly referred to an endodontist because of the complexity associated with the procedure of re-treating the previous RCT. Certain cases benefit more from root surgery, in which the endodontist is trained to expertly do.

At Spring Lake Dental Group we strive to take the best care of our patients and we understand that acute pain presents in the least expected moment. Due to this nature, we recommend that first you give us a call and we will see you as soon as possible. We will then assess the treatment options and do our best to take you out of pain.