Root canal therapy uses special techniques designed to preserve a natural tooth that’s badly damaged in its central or pulp portion. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that support a healthy tooth, and it extends from the deep center of the tooth down to the roots, contained by narrow channels or canals.
Sometimes the pulp becomes decayed or infected, compromising the entire tooth and significantly increasing the risk of tooth loss. Root canal therapy removes the damaged pulp portion while leaving the rest of the tooth intact so you can avoid tooth loss and preserve your natural smile and bite balance.
Root canal therapy is similar to a regular cavity filling in principle: As with a filling, a root canal removes the damaged portion of the tooth. But because of the location of the pulp, your dentist uses special techniques to access and remove the damaged tissue during a root canal. Once he removes the pulp, he carefully cleans and seals the canals and fills them with a special material.
Yes. Without the pulp, your tooth won’t be as strong, so you’ll need a crown to provide strength and stability. A crown also hides discoloration that tends to occur following pulp removal so your smile can look its best. Usually, your dentist fits you for a crown in the same appointment as the root canal procedure.
If there’s an infection in the tooth, you might receive a medicated filling initially and then have the regular filling and crown fitting at a second visit. During the crown fitting, your dentist removes a small portion of the tooth surface material to make room for the crown and then takes an impression of the tooth to serve as a mold. A temporary crown protects the tooth until your permanent crown is ready.
Unless your tooth is broken or otherwise very badly damaged, a root canal is typically a better option. That’s because preserving your natural tooth also preserves your bite pattern or bite balance, avoiding uneven wear on other teeth that can lead to decay and other problems.
Removing a tooth increases your risks for additional tooth loss. Also, root canal therapy usually is less costly than having an extraction followed by a restoration. Finally, most patients feel more confident when they can preserve their own teeth.
At Santa Clarita Advanced Dentistry, we accept all PPO insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed.
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