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root canal

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Root Canal

Root Canal. If a tooth dies or is dying, it can create a very painful problem. A root canal basically removes the problem which is typically a bacterial infection, allowing the patient to retain a tooth that would otherwise be lost. Typically, root canal success rates hover around the 90% mark as strange anatomy, unusual bacteria and various other factors can complicate the outcome. The pulp, or “nerve” of the tooth can be thought of as a river system leading to the bone, which can be thought of as the ocean. The purpose of a root canal then, would be analogous to cleaning out a river system all the way to the ocean.

Final Xray of root canal and CEREC crown on lower molar

After numbing there tooth, a rubber dam and clamp are used to isolate the tooth in the need of therapy, to isolate and prevent contamination.

After isolation with the rubber dam, the canals are identified. This tooth had 3 canals in total which need to be cleaned out and sealed.

Root canal files of increasing diameter are used to traverse all 3 of the canals all the way to the end of the respective roots, basically to bone.

An apex locator is used to electronically measure the difference in resistance between the root and bone tissue. This is used to ensure access all the way down to the end of the root canal.

After widening the canals manually to approximately 0.2 mm in most cases a hand-piece can be used to more effectively drill out the inside of the canal walls, removing remaining nerve tissue and bacteria.

After cleaning and widening all 3 canals sufficiently, a Piezo ultrasonic is used to allow the disinfectants and chelators used in root canal therapy to more efficiently remove vestiges of tissue and bacteria, even in the “feeder creeks” of the “main river” that is the root canal.

Then, all 3 canals are dried using sterile paper points.

A rubber-like material called gutta percha of the appropriate size and shape is then selected to seal off and fill the root canal spaces. A paste sealer (the mortar) is applied to each of the gutta percha points(the brick) as they are used to obturate (fill) the root canal spaces.

Pressure and heat are applied to hydraulically plug all 3 canals.

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