Root Canals

A root canal is a procedure that extracts decayed pulp from the central part of the tooth, reshapes the canal and replaces it with strengthening filler.

A cavity is the result of superficial decay of the enamel of the tooth. Left long enough, this decay can burrow into the deeper reaches of the tooth, causing extensive damage to tooth structure. When the damage goes beyond what can be treated with a filling, dentists can perform a root canal (or endodontics), preserving the tooth and retaining its original integrity; thereby, saving a tooth that in the past would have to have been pulled.

A common misconception is that a root canal is an uncomfortable procedure. Actually, root canals are similar to having a cavity filled, producing minimal discomfort.

Common causes for the need of endodontic treatment:

  • Inflamed/infected tooth pulp
  • Severe sensitivity to hot and cold elements
  • Tooth decay
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Blow to the tooth
  • Swelling or tenderness near the infected tooth
  • Repeated dental procedures on a tooth

If you are in need of having a root canal performed, Dr. Janvier will refer you to an endodontist. An endodontist is a specialist in the area of soft tissue inside the tooth. Endodontists, who perform root canals, receive advanced education after graduating from dental school and typically only deal with endodontic-related problems. Once the root canal is complete, you will be referred back to Dr. Janvier, who will finish restoring the tooth. The root canal procedure is further described below:

  • The patient undergoes local anesthesia (i.e. Novocain).
  • A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth.
  • The tooth is opened to allow for removal of infected or dead dental pulp.
  • The tooth is comprehensively cleaned, including any cracks and canals.
  • With special tools, the doctor reshapes the canals.
  • The tooth is filled again with cutting edge biocompatible filling material.
  • A temporary covering is used to cover the access opening.
  • Patients MUST see their regular dentist quickly for a permanent restoration of the tooth.