A procedure used after a tooth has become non-vital due to trauma or decay, and the nerve is violated. Endodontic treatment, (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. Some of the main causes of inner tooth (nerve) damage include bacterial infections, fractures, injuries, and traumatic avulsion (when a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket).
Root canal therapy usually takes between one and three visits to complete. Complete x-rays of the teeth will be taken and examined before the treatment begins. Initially, a local anesthetic will be administered, and a dental dam (protective sheet) will be placed to ensure that the surgical area remains free of saliva during treatment. An opening will be created in the surface of the tooth, and the pulp will be completely removed using small hand held and rotary instruments. The space will now be shaped, cleaned and filled with gutta-percha…a biocompatible material that is somewhat similar to rubber. Cement will be applied on top to ensure that the roots are completely sealed off.
Usually, a temporary filling will be placed to restore functionality to the tooth prior to the permanent restoration procedure. During the final visit, a permanent restoration or crown will be placed.