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Dennis Alleman, DMD, PC


What is a Root Canal?

A Root Canal is an archaic, but common name for Endodontic Treatment of an infected tooth. Endo is a latin term for inside, so endodontic means treatment of the inside of the tooth.

A root canal procedure brings fearful images to many people, but that is largely in the past. Today's endodontic care is successful, painless and relatively quiet enough so that many patients are relaxed enough to nod off during the procedure!

The root canal procedure limits infection and keeps it from destroying the inside of the tooth. During the procedure, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected tissue, carefully cleans, disinfects and shapes the canal space within each root, and then fills and seals the space. It may take one or more appointments to complete the procedure.

After Endodontic treatment, and the roots are sealed, the tooth is still alive and healthy, but is slightly weaker than before. It is highly recommended that the crown or top of the tooth be sealed with a restorative crown build up, and that the tooth be restored for the long term with a dental crown. We think of a root canal as washing the invasive bacteria out of the root, filling it with a biocompatible material that soothes the area, and then sealing it back up again. Top it off with a solid build up (filling) and a crown, and it's good as new!

That means you get to keep your tooth, and that's a good thing!

Root Canal Therapy

Root Canal, or Endodontic therapy, has three main purposes:-to stop the pain, -to stop the infection from spreading into the bone,-and to save the tooth instead of removing it and replacing it with a bridge or denture.

The root canal is actually a channel that runs from the root of the tooth. It is the space that contains the nerves, blood vessels and cells that make up the living tissue complex inside the tooth. This vital tissue is called the pulp.

When a tooth is cracked or decayed, bacteria can get into the canal and infect the pulp. The resultant inflammation and swelling causes pain and internal swelling, but because the tooth itself cannot swell, pressure builds up inside the tooth which shuts down its internal blood supply and healing systems. The resulting pus and noxious waste products Can leak from the roots of the tooth to spread into, and infect the surrounding bone and oral tissues. If left untreated, the infection can become serious.

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