Inside of all normal teeth is a cavity containing nerves, blood vessels, and live soft tissue called the dental pulp. Occasionally, the pulp tissue is abused by trauma, deep decay, large fillings, crowns, or other factors, and the pulp tissue becomes necrotic (dead). Usually, pulp death results in pain or bone destruction visible on dental x-rays. Treating a necrotic (dead) pulp is a delicate procedure requiring the following steps.
- A small hole is made in the tooth to allow access to the dead pulp tissue.
- Using a series of small files, the dead pulp tissue is removed from the internal of the tooth.
- When the internal portion of the tooth is hollow and cleared, this area is filled with a “rubber like” material called “gutta-percha.”
- If the tooth has been severely weakened, it may need a supportive post placed internally, and a subsequent crown (cap) for strength.
Root canal therapy is about 95% effective in restoring the tooth back to normal function. However, occasionally mild discomfort lingers for a few weeks before the tooth feels normal. We expect that your tooth receiving root canal therapy will return to a healthy, strong, non-painful portion of your dentition.