Today we are going to talk about the most dreaded words in dentistry…..ROOT CANAL.

I’ll give you a second to catch your breath.  Root canals get a horrible name that they don’t deserve.  I hear every day about how much a root canal hurt with a coworker or that they never last.  From my experience, most patients have little to no pain post root canal.  Most actually feel much better since they were hurting prior to getting the root canal.  Research shows that root canals have a 90-95% survival rate at 10 years. So why do root canals get such a bad name?  It is largely due to the root canals of 30 years ago, which took a long time to do and were not as gentle.  The lesser technology and the longer appointments usually led to a good amount of pain.  I’m not saying no one ever has post root canal pain, but I am saying that they are usually less painful than the alternative, extraction.

So, you ask, what is a root canal and why do I need one? Root canals are needed due to infection.  Teeth can become infected due to many reasons: trauma, large decay/fillings, and fractures. Once a tooth become infected, the only ways to fix it are root canal or extraction.  A root canal is a way to resolve the infection while saving the tooth.

The process of a root canal involves accessing the tooth through the top to find the nerve.  The nerve is then removed, and the tooth is cleaned and shaped.  The tooth is cleaned with chemicals that disinfect the space and kill off any bacteria.  The canal where the nerve was is also shaped to remove any weakened structure and better shaped to be filled.  The shaping is performed with files that are precisely controlled via a handpiece.  After it is cleaned and shaped, the canal is filled with a rubber material, called Gutta Percha.  The remaining hole is filled with white filling material, composite.  The tooth is then usually crowned, but may be left just as a filing in an otherwise stable front tooth.  I’ve enclosed video below that demonstrates a root canal.

Hope you enjoyed today’s blog, and if you are have questions or would like to make an appointment, feel free to contact us at 864-963-3481 or