Root Canal Therapy in Belmont

A root canal is a dental treatment to address injury to or severe infection of a tooth. Rather than removing the entire tooth, root canal therapy allows your dentist to remove only the affected pulp tissue, while preserving the remaining tooth structure. At Belmont Dental Group, our dentists provide root canals in Belmont as part of our comprehensive dental practice, in addition to cleanings, preventive treatment, cosmetic dentistry, and sedation dentistry options.

Understanding Dental Pulp

Root canals treat toothaches and other dental problems by removing damaged or infected pulp. Dental pulp is soft tissue contained within your teeth; it lies beneath the harder layers of enamel (the visible part of your tooth) and dentin (hard, bony tissue that provides bulk and shape to the tooth). The pulp tissue contains nerve endings and the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tooth, keeping it healthy. However, untreated tooth decay can eat through the enamel and dentin, causing an infection in the pulp beneath. Oral injuries can also damage the outer layers of a tooth, exposing the pulp and putting your tooth’s health at risk. In these cases, a root canal is needed to extract the affected pulp and preserve the remaining natural tooth structure as an alternative to pulling and replacing the tooth with dentures or a dental implant.

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva. An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria. If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials. A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth. In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed. This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

Reasons for root canal therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth).
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

Root Canal Success

Although root canals offer a 95% success rate, complications can arise following treatment, despite your dentist’s best efforts. Understanding root canal complications can help you spot problems that do occur and seek prompt treatment. Your dentist in Belmont can provide you with more personalized information about root canal therapy and its benefits when you call Belmont Dental Group at (617) 484-2431.

  • The success of a root canal hinges not only on the complete removal of all infected pulp, but on the quality of the sealing and restoration of the tooth as well. Sealants can break down over time, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth and cause a second infection. A restoration (crown) that deteriorates over time can also allow bacteria entrance into your tooth.
  • Some teeth naturally have many canals or small branches and forks in the pulp canals. These can be easily overlooked even by the most competent dentist, causing infection to persist even after a root canal. If you experience symptoms of a toothache or swelling in a treated tooth, contact your dentist for evaluation; your tooth may need retreatment to remove additional infected pulp.
  • Cracks can form either before or after a tooth receives a root canal. A cracked tooth is vulnerable to bacterial penetration and may need additional treatment or eventual removal, even if your root canal was successful.