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Root Canal Therapy

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Office location:
Downers Grove
146 Ogden Ave. Ste B
Downers Grove, IL
Phone: (630) 963-0909

Endodontic Therapy (Root canal therapy) is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection, commonly an abscess .  In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth) along with any infectious material is removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials. The tooth now can support a restoration to protect the tooth.

Having Endodontic Therapy done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die, become abscessed  and have to be removed.  Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful (~ 90%) and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated or removed due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible Endodontic Therapy:

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

Reasons for Endodontic Therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does Endodontic Therapy involve?

A Endodontic procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a Dentist or Endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is completely numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of contamination from saliva.  An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of small files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp tissue, and bacteria. 

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, it will be sealed with a permanent filling material. This may occur on a second visit.

A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth.  In addition, it is imperative that almost all teeth that have had root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed.  This will help protect the tooth from fracture, and restore it to its full function.

In some cases, the tooth may be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.