About Root Canals

Endodontics — Treating the inside of the tooth

Northside Endodontics only does endodontics, exclusively treating a tooth’s interior. The outside of a tooth is white enamel over dentin (a hard, bone-like material), endodontics works upon the inside, which contains pulp (soft material made up of blood vessels, nerve fibers, and connective tissue). This pulp contributes to the development of a tooth, but after maturity, doesn’t serve much further purpose.

Patients usually see their dentist when they are experiencing pain or a severe toothache. Sometimes this pain is caused by damaged tissue inside the tooth, and the patient may be referred to an endodontist. A root canal removes this damaged tissue, and therefore relieves the pain.

Root Canal — Is it painful?

Anatomical sketch of a tooth

The perception that root canals are painful began decades ago when treatment and technology were far inferior to what they are today. Thanks to the latest technologies and anesthetics, having a root canal is generally no more uncomfortable than having a tooth filled. Root canal treatment relieves pain, it doesn’t cause it.

About Root Canal Therapy

If an examination confirms the patient needs a root canal, they will be given local anesthetic to numb the affected tooth. This anesthetic makes treatment more comfortable. In order to isolate the tooth being treated, and keep the area clean, a rubber dam will be placed over the tooth. Once the area is fully numb, the endodontist proceeds to access the canals of the tooth to remove the diseased pulp tissue.

The endodontist uses a series of precision instruments to clean and shape the canals. X-rays are taken throughout the treatment procedure. This ensures the instruments are placed to clean the entire length of the canal space. Once this process is completed the canals are ready to be filled with a material called Gutta Percha. This material seals off the end of the root.

A temporary filling is used to close the opening that was made in the tooth. Patients then need to see their general dentist to have this temporary filling replaced by a permanent one, and possibly a crown.