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Root Canal Therapy

  • Definition

    root canal therapy consists of removal of the pulp tissue contained within the tubular root canals, and sealing them with an inert material to eliminate bacterial infection.


    Degeneration of the dental nerve is the primary reason for root canal treatment. It is most frequently caused by untreated bacterial decay that destroys the enamel and dentin and infects the pulp tissue.

    A sharp blow to the tooth can also precipitate nerve failure, sometimes years after the initial trauma.

    Nerves can degenerate long after teeth have been filled or capped, especially if the original decay was deep. Infection in a deep periodontal (pyorrhea) pocket may extend to the nerve, requiring a combination of endodontic and periodontic therapy to save the tooth. Nerve degeneration might also be due to poor dental treatment.

    Root canal therapy is sometimes necessary to eliminate hypersensitivity due to extreme attrition that has worn away one-third to one-half of the tooth's crown.

    For example, if a front tooth, usually in the lower jaw, is worn down so rapidly and severely that secondary dentin cannot form quickly enough to insulate the vital nerve, removal of the nerve relieves intolerable sensitivity to temperature and chewing.

    Normally, if a tooth is sensitive to both hot and cold temperature changes and the discomfort disappears immediately afterward, root canal therapy is not needed.


    How will you diagnose the problem?

    What is the cause of the symptoms?

    Is the problem tooth of functional or strategic importance?

    What type of therapy or treatment will you be recommending?

    What type of anesthetic will be given?

    Will you be prescribing any medication? What are the side effects?

    Is there an alternative treatment to root canal?