Root Canal

Stummer Dental Specializes in Root Canals

Root Canal procedures are done on a tooth when the inside pulp or nerve are infected with bacterial growth. If the tooth has deep decay, a chip or crack, large fillings or has had multiple dental procedures, the pulp can be exposed and an infection can develop. This can also occur if the tooth is injured and the nerve or pulp starts to breakdown. With bacteria multiplying within the root chamber, acids are formed. Acids and bacteria irritate the tissue and cause swelling within the tooth root. Swelling within an enclosed space, such as the root of a tooth, is very painful. In addition, a pus-filled pocket at the end of the root, called an abcess, may form and infect the surrounding tissue. Pimples may also erupt on the gums.

The signs of a root canal problem are pain in chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling of the lymph nodes, drainage and swelling of nearby gums.

If you find yourself with any of these symptoms, call Dr. Stummer’s office for an emergency appointment. If you cannot come to the office the same day, Dr. Stummer will often prescribe antibiotics to bring the infection under control.  This will only improve the situation temporarily. At the appointment, an x-ray will be taken to determine the extent of the infection and the location and shape of the root canals. A root canal will be scheduled in the very near future at Dr. Stummer’s office.

The pulp and nerve are not essential to the function of the tooth once it has developed and erupted into a mature tooth. The tissues around the tooth will continue to nourish the tooth after a root canal procedure is performed. The purpose of the procedure is to remove the nerve and pulp as well as the bacteria and debris of the infection. First, an anesthetic is used to numb the area around the affected tooth. A rubber dam, a sheet of rubber, is placed around the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure. Holes are then drilled into the tooth to access the root canals. Files of increasing size are used to clean out and shape the canals. Then an adhesive is applied to the canal walls and a rubber-like material called gutta-percha is inserted to completely seal the root canals.

The core of the tooth will then be filled with a foundation filling. In many cases, a crown will be necessary to restore the tooth to original form and function. If the tooth structure is strong, a composite will be done to fill the hole through which the root canal was done. Root canal therapy done on the front teeth generally cost less and take less time than for posterior teeth.

Root canal