Root Canal Therapy

Animated video of a root canal                         

Root canals treat diseased and dying teeth. When the pulp (blood supply and nerve) at the center of the tooth becomes infected, the pulp is removed and the canal is thoroughly disinfected.  The canal is then filled with gutta percha points coated in therapeutic medication.  A temporary filling is used to seal the root canal until a permanent crown can be made.

The pulp can become infected if cavities are left untreated and if old fillings or crowns break, allowing bacteria to leak underneath.  Left too long, the infected pulp will die and the abscess will continue to worsen.  Facial trauma can also cause the pulp to degenerate and die.

Root canals may take up to two appointments to complete, and most of the time a crown will be placed a few weeks later.

Animated graphic of a root canal, showing the infection in the pulp space and the inflamed pulp. The pulpal canal is cleaned out, and the space is filled with gutta percha points and sealed with a  temporary filling. A crown is typically placed a few weeks later.


Symptoms of a diseased or dying pulp can include:

  • Visible swelling
  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Pain in the tooth itself and the surrounding gums
  • Visible trauma (i.e. a broken tooth)
If you experience any of these symptoms, call us!
Abscesses pose a severe health risk!  
Waiting to get treatment means
that the problem will only get worse.  

What Happens Next?

Once the root canal is finished, that tooth will need a crown.  We will place a temporary crown on the tooth and take impressions to send to our lab. The final crown will be ready about two weeks later.