Root Canal Therapy

What is root canal therapy?

The dental pulp is the inner, soft-tissue, living portion of a tooth that contains the nerves, arteries, veins and lymph vessels.  When the pulp becomes critically diseased or injured and dies, the tooth can often times be saved through specialized root canal therapy.

Most often, the cause of pulp death is a fractured or cracked tooth or a deep cavity that exposes the pulp to saliva.  The bacteria found in saliva causes infection inside the tooth.  If left untreated, the infection eventually causes the pulp to die.  Pus can build up at the root tip and form an abscess that can destroy the supporting bone that surrounds the tooth, and often times results in a severe toothache.

A root canal treatment involves removing the diseased pulp, then thoroughly cleaning, shaping, filling and sealing the canal(s) of the tooth.  Usually, the tooth is immediately restored with a post & crown for strength and stability.

What does Dr. Singleton do differently?

Dr. Singleton performs an additional step during root canal therapy to ensure successful treatment. After cleaning and shaping the pulp canal(s), he then sterilizes the canal(s) with a CO2 laser. Laser technology reduces the chance of infection and promotes healing.

Why is a root canal necessary?

Typically the only alternative treatment for a tooth requiring a root canal is extraction.  There are many disadvantages to choosing to extract a tooth over properly restoring it.  When a tooth is removed, the teeth next to the empty space shift from their normal position, resulting in a more crooked smile.  Because crooked teeth are more difficult to clean and care for, they are typically more prone to cavities and gum than property aligned teeth.  As a result, more dental disease can occur and other teeth may also be lost.  Furthermore, empty spaces reduce chewing ability and may interfere with proper digestion.  Root canal therapy can safely and comfortably be done to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be removed.

How long will the restored tooth last?

Root canal therapy can last a lifetime with proper oral hygiene, routine dental appointments and most importantly, preventing bruxism (clenching and grinding). For more information on bruxism, click here.