"You need a root canal"! These words strike fear into the hearts of the bravest men. The dreaded thought has been likened to the pain of childbirth or passing a gallstone. Of course, most of this bad rap is the result of waiting until teeth have terrible infections and it's late at night. But if teeth are attended to in a timely fashion, the root canal process is much less difficult and frequently saves the day, the tooth and your smile.

The Steps in Root Canal Therapy

 medical illustration of infected tooth  medical illustration of pulp removal
Pulp becomes damaged and infection spreads to the bone and tissues. An abscess forms at the root. After the affected tooth has been numbed, the pulp is removed, and the chamber and roots are cleaned out, enlarged and shaped.
medical illustration of root canal treatment medical illustration of dental crown after root canal
Once the tooth is clean and free of infection, the pulp chamber and root canals are filled with a rubber-like material, and the tooth is filled. Sometimes the tooth may also need to be crowned. Some crowns may need a post and core as shown.

Did You Know?

The truth is that root canal therapy is only needed once a tooth has died, decayed into a living nerve space or become fractured badly......all of which are undesirable outcomes and could give anyone a bad day!

Modern dentistry, however, has perfected this therapy into a science that most everyone should be cheering about. Properly done, endodontics is responsible for saving better than 95% of the teeth that present for treatment. In addition, root canal therapy is becoming increasingly more predictable and comfortable as well.

With the advent of Digital X-Rays, we are able to diagnose and treat unhappy teeth so much more efficiently with higher quality results. Combine this with state of the art techniques and a gentle touch, and you have a dental rhapsody in the making. Can't you just hear molars everywhere.....humming in harmony?

Granted, you might not be happy to hear these dreaded words, but root canals aren't the unpredictable horror they once were. The good news is that most teeth that need treatment serve long, useful lives. This has gotta be great news......especially, if it doesn't happen to you or me!