Endodontic therapy, more commonly known as a root canal, is a procedure reserved for repairing the root of a tooth that has become infected or damaged. In most cases, the problem arises from severe tooth decay. However, your dentist might recommend a root canal if you have a tooth that is severely fractured, broken off at the gum line, or if your crown abutment broke off.
Before the procedure, your dentist will probably want to take a series of X-rays. This will help them to determine the full extent of decay and how serious the infection is in the root. It can also help spot things like an infection or abscess. If the tooth is located in your upper jaw, the dentist will also be able to understand the relationship between the root and any sinus cavity. If the tooth has suffered too much decay or damage, it might need to be completely extracted.
The full procedure will require two separate appointments.
At the first appointment, the dentist removes excess enamel and any decay to gain access to the infected parts of the tooth. They will then replace the infected root with a rubbery material called gutta-percha. This gives the tooth back most of its original integrity and allows the dentist to create an abutment that they can then anchor a crown to later.
Once the abutment is formed, the dentist will make an impression of the area before fitting the abutment with a temporary crown. The impression is sent off to a dental laboratory where a permanent crown is then made.
At the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and cement the new permanent crown in place. With proper care and cleaning, the new crown and abutment can last for many years to come.
If you are concerned that you might need a root canal, please feel free to call us at (928) 445-3181 to schedule an appointment.