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Bethalto’s Root Canal Therapy Specialists

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection, and we can perform the procedure here at Alan J. Wickenhauser, DMD. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function. Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a problematic tooth is the solution. However, extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth. Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections. We are here to help you address any issues and resolve the signs and symptoms of this tooth issue.

Reasons for a Root Canal

The Primary Reasons for Root Canal Therapy Include:

• Treatment for decay that has reached the tooth pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth)
• An infection or abscess that has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip
• Injury or trauma to the tooth

Some of the Signs and Symptoms That a Tooth May Need a Root Canal Therapy Procedure Include:

• An abscess (or pimple) on the gums
• Sensitivity to hot and cold
• Severe toothache pain
• Swelling and/or tenderness

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please don’t hesitate to contact our office for an evaluation.

The Root Canal Therapy Process

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist). We have the ability and specialized staff to do this procedure right here in our office. 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, 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.

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