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School of Medicine
Root Canals (Endodontics)
Endodontists are root canal specialists. If your tooth or its root is damaged by trauma, you will typically experience pain and increased sensitivity in that tooth. Having frequent pain when you bite down is often a sign that your tooth may need a root canal.
When a cavity progresses to the point that it involves the pulp (the chamber in the tooth containing the nerve and blood vessels), a root canal may be necessary instead of extracting the tooth. This also treats potential infections and dental abscesses.
Diagnosing Tooth Pain
If you experience dental pain, your general dentist will probably take an X-ray and evaluate for any pathology. If there is a suspicion of a fracture or pulpitis (inflammation on the pulpal tissue in a tooth), the general dentist will refer you to an endodontist who will further evaluate your tooth, using a variety of methods.
Root Canal Treatment
- Your endodontist will talk to you before the procedure and explain what is going to happen. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area.
- Your endodontist will make a small opening into the chamber where the nerves are located in the root of the tooth.
- Using special tools, your endodontist will remove the dead material, clean and pack the empty canals with special material.
- Pain medication may be prescribed and directions will be given on how to care for your mouth after a root canal.
After the Root Canal
After the root canal, you will need a dental crown made to protect the tooth after repair (it will be more brittle than a living tooth and will have the weakening defects from the original cause of the problem). Our dentists will fit your tooth with a beautifully made crown that will help balance your bite and prevent future dental problems from developing.