Your dentist may recommend root canal treatment for the following conditions:
Large cavities are the most common cause of infected teeth and severe tooth pain. If you have a large cavity, you are at risk for tooth infection. If you had a large cavity in the past that was treated, you are at risk for tooth infection. Trauma to the teeth can also cause tooth infection.
After numbing the tooth, the dentist removes infected tissue from the “root canals” (the space inside of the tooth root). Then the dentist cleans, shapes, and disinfects the root canals. Afterward, the root canals are filled and sealed. Treatment may take two or more appointments.
We can treat simple cases. If your case is difficult, we may refer you to an endodontist (a dentist specializing in root canal treatment).
If your tooth is infected (apical periodontitis) or has severe pain (irreversible pulpitis), your only long-term options are root canal treatment or extraction of the tooth. Unfortunately, a filling can’t treat these problems. Antibiotics can’t permanently treat these problems. If the tooth is severely damaged, it might not be possible to save the tooth, and extraction might be the only option.
Experts say there’s a 10-year success rate of about 85% if you follow all of your dentist’s instructions. Dentists usually recommend a crown after root canal treatment to protect the tooth from fracturing. Also, root canal-treated teeth are still vulnerable to new cavities and gum disease, so it’s important to practice good oral hygiene, commit to a healthy diet, and have regular dental appointments.