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A root canal is also referred to as endodontic therapy.  This is a common and often routine dental treatment designed to retain a tooth in which the central material located in the root canal, termed "pulp" is subject to infection and threatens to destroy the tooth or cause further problems.  You will find that one of your dentist’s main goals is to save the healthy teeth in the mouth.  This can often be done with endodontics even though the vital nutrient support is being removed.  It generally consists of the removal of infected pulp and a thorough cleansing of the root canal.  The canal is then sealed to prevent further contamination.

What is the Pulp and Why is Removal Necessary?

The pulp of the tooth lies in the root canal.  It is the innermost section of the tooth.  Through the pulp the tooth receives the innervation, blood supply, and nutrients it needs to survive in a healthy manner.  It passes through the tooth into the jawbone through a specialized opening.   The pulp is required for the health and life of the natural tooth.  Upon the instance of infection, there are several things that can happen.  An abcess can be created where the opening of the root can experience infection.  In addition, painful and problematic swellings can occur in addition to a loss of bone.  An infection in this area is not something to ignore because problems can be extremely costly and detrimental.

How to Tell if Endodontics are Necessary

Although the dental professional is the only person suited to diagnose the need for a root canal, there are several different symptoms that can point to the need for this treatment.  Several symptoms are tooth pain or pressure, sensitivity to hot or cold stimulus, or abnormal swellings.  These signs are not unique to the need for a root canal so a thorough consultation can provide the needed answers.

How is a Root Canal Performed?

A consultation is performed first.  This will allow the patient to articulate the symptoms to the dentist.  The dentist then does a clinical exam and x rays are taken of the tooth or teeth in question.  Once the treatment is deemed indicated, the procedure begins.  The root canal is cleaned out with several small files.  The files are inserted gently in order of increasing width.  Once cleaned out properly, a special material called “gutta percha” is placed in the canal and the canal then is sealed off from the environment.  Generally a crown is then placed over that tooth to provide the proper support to protect the tooth and provide longevity.

               Fort Myers, FL Dental Office
              Drs. Bass and Donovan Dentistry
               5248 Red Cedar Drive, Suite 101
                        Fort Myers, FL 33907