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At Aspen Dental Care in SW Calgary, we are proud to provide Root Canal Therapy (RCT), which is a commonly performed dental procedure. This straightforward treatment can rescue an infected tooth from extraction, eliminating the necessity for dental implants, bridges, or dentures.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal treatment (RCT) is a treatment sequence for the infected pulp of a tooth that is intended to result in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.

To understand root canal treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. The tooth is made up of two layers: a soft tissue called the pulp, which sits beneath the white enamel, and a hard layer called the dentin. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and aids in the construction of the tooth’s surrounding hard tissues during development. The pulp extends from the tooth’s crown to the tip of the roots, where it joins with the root tissues. While the pulp is essential for tooth formation and growth, adult teeth can function without it.

When the pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected, root canal treatment becomes necessary. The inflammation or infection can result from various causes, including deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks, an injury to it can cause pulp damage. If left untreated, pulp inflammation or infection can cause pain or lead to an abscess. Unlike other parts of the body, the pulp tissue is unable to heal and protect itself once exposed and contaminated, which can result in an increase in pain as blood pressure rises in the pulp chamber. If left unaddressed, this can lead to necrosis, infection, and eventually an abscess.

To save the tooth, a dentist will remove the pulp, bacteria, and any decay, and then clean, disinfect, and shape the root canals. The resulting space is filled with special, medicated dental materials that restore the tooth to its full function. At Aspen Dental Care, we use one of the most technologically advanced root canal systems available (DENTSPLY), which allows us to complete the entire root canal treatment in a single appointment, ensuring a more relaxing experience and successful outcomes. We strongly recommend placing a crown on posterior teeth that have undergone root canal treatment, as the removal of the pulp and blood supply can make the tooth brittle and more susceptible to cracking under heavy bite forces.

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Our Procedure

01. Exam

The dentist will examine and take a radiograph of the tooth using x-rays, and then administer a local anesthetic. Once the tooth is numb, the dentist will place a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.

02. Open and Clean

The dentist creates an opening in the crown of the tooth and utilizes small instruments called “files” to meticulously clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals while shaping the area for filling.

03. Fill and Seal

The dentist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, typically a rubber-like substance known as “gutta-percha,” after cleaning and shaping the space. To ensure complete sealing of the root canals, the gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement. A temporary filling is usually inserted to close the opening in the majority of cases.

04. Restoring

Your dentist will remove the temporary filling after the final visit for RCT and place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to fully protect and restore it to function. If the tooth does not have enough structure to hold the restoration, a post will be placed inside the tooth by your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a tooth turn black after a root canal?

Does the endodontically treated tooth need to be crowned?

Is the root canal treatment painful?