Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy refers to the process by which a dentist treats the inner aspects of a tooth, specifically that area inside a tooth that is occupied by its “pulp tissue.” Most people would probably refer to a tooth’s pulp tissue as its “nerve.” While a tooth’s pulp tissue does contain nerve fibers it is also composed of arteries, veins, lymph vessels, and connective tissue.

The purpose of a root canal therapy is to create an end result where the tissues that surround a tooth’s root will maintain a healthy status despite the fact that the tooth’s nerve has undergone degenerative changes. Specifically,the tissues surrounding a tooth’s root are not affected by bacterial infection and/or irritating substances leaking from those inner aspects of the tooth originally occupied by the tooth’s nerve tissue.

The process of a root canal treatment first removes (as thoroughly as possible) bacteria, nerve tissue, the organic debris left over from the breakdown of nerve tissue, and bacterial toxins from within the inner aspects of a tooth (the area originally occupied by the tooth’s nerve tissue). Once the space has been cleansed the second half of the root canal treatment involves filling in and sealing up the interior of the tooth.The seal also contains and encapsulates any debris that could not be fully removed during the cleaning aspect of the root canal treatment process so that it can’t leak out and trigger an inflammation

What you can expect after treatment

  • It is not uncommon for your tooth to be uncomfortable or even ache. It should be a dull ache, a bruising sensation that can be taken care of with Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Tylenol, if you are sensitive to anti-inflammatories. This pain should improve over one week’s time, and will eventually subside altogether.
  • Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and normal chewing and can possibly feel loose at first. Keep in mind that although the nerves are removed from the inside of your tooth, the tooth sits in a socket filled with nerve endings, which register discomfort on a tooth that has been recently worked on. Again, this sensitivity should subside within a week.
  • It is normal to feel a depression or rough concavity where the temporary filling has been placed. It will wear away to a degree before the permanent restoration is placed. Avoiding chewing on the temporary filling will uphold its integrity.
  • If a small bubble or pimple appears on the gum tissue, it is acting like a pressure release valve for your tooth and should subside within a few days.

Please refer to the home care instructions page for more information.