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Root Canal Treatment

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Endodontic — or root canal — treatment is

Illustration of a cross section of a molar tooth. Root canal treatment, root canal pretreatment.
necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the
lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues.

Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.


To understand treatment options for your diseased tooth, it helps to know about the anatomy of a tooth. Under the white enamel and hard layer called dentin is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. A fully developed tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. It is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. If untreated, the pulp inflammation or infection can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
Endodontists specialize in saving natural teeth and in performing root canals. The top diagram shows a healthy molar tooth; in the diagram on the right, an abscessed tooth with a collection of infected material or pus. An abscess can occur when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected and goes untreated.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside the root, then fills and seals the space. Afterward, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Southwest Endodontics, Root Canals, St. George, UT, Dentist Endodontist, Root Canal Dentist, Root Canal Pain, Endodontist, Endodontics, Board Certified