Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment, or RCT is done when there is decay or infection that reaches and affects the nerve of the tooth. Some of the signs and symptoms of a tooth needing RCT are:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed.  Many patients believe that removing the tooth would solve the problem, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth and creating a space between the teeth.

In order to save the tooth by RCT, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed, and the resulting space is disinfected with special, medicated, dental materials,  and filled with an inert material called gurta percha. It is then sealed and crowned or other restoration used. Thus, the tooth is saved and given its full function.

An RCT may require one or more appointments. After treatment, the tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.