to the root of endodontic
(root canal) treatments
GOAL: PRESERVING THE TOOTH
the past, injured or diseased teeth fre-quently
had to be removed. Today,
they often can be
saved through endodontic treatment.
Also known as a root canal treat-ment, this
procedure may be performed by a general
dentist or a specialist called an endodon-tist.
More than one office visit
usually is required.
root canal treatment generally involves the removal
and replacement of a tooth's pulp. The pulp
is soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves
and connective tissue.
pulp is found in a canal that runs through the
center of the hard tissue on the inside of the
tooth (the dentin).
pulp extends from the pulp chamber in the crown
down through the root canal to the tip of the
root in the jawbone.
tooth has only one pulp chamber but may have
more than one root and several root canals. If
pulp becomes damaged through injury or dis-ease
and cannot repair itself,
bacteria and their products
can leak into the pulp and cause the pulp
to die. If a root canal procedure is not per-formed,
an abscess can form at the
tip of the root and
cause considerable pain. Even if there is no pain,
the bone anchoring the tooth in the jaw can be
damaged. Without treatment, the tooth may have
to be extracted.
is what you can expect when you schedule a root
canal treatment. On
the initial visit:
anesthetic usually is given, to maintain patient
affected tooth is isolated from saliva with a rubberlike
sheet called a dam.
opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
The pulp is removed, and then the root is cleaned
and shaped. Medication may be added to the
pulp chamber and root canal(s) to help elimi-nate
A temporary filling is placed in the crown
to keep saliva out.
be pre-scribed if
present and has spread
beyond the end of
the next visit:
root canal is filled
and per-manently sealed.(A
metal or plastic rod
or post may be
in the root canal
for struc-tural support.)
an endodon-tist performs
the procedure, he
or she usually will
send you back to your general
dentist for prepara-tion of
a crown to be placed on the tooth. Crowns
made from a variety of materials, depending on
the location of the tooth, the color of the tooth
and the amount of natural
tooth remaining. Dis-cuss with
your dentist which option is best for you.
REST IS UP TO YOU
restored tooth can remain healthy as long as its
roots are nourished by the surrounding tis-sues.
Good oral hygiene at home
and regular dental
visits can help prevent tooth decay and gum
disease. If you take good care of it, the restored
tooth could last a lifetime. Prepared
by the ADA Division of Communications, in cooperation
The Journal of the American Dental Association. Unlike
other por-tions of
JADA, this page may be clipped and copied as a handout
for patients, without
first obtaining reprint permission from ADA Pub-lishing,
a division of ADA Business