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Root Canals

Bringing Smiles to the Edmonds Community




What Is Root Canals?

Endodontic treatment, more commonly known as root canal therapy, is necessary when the pulp of your tooth becomes inflamed or infected.

The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes such as deep decay, or a crack or chip in the tooth, with proper care; an endodonctically treated tooth will function normally for years to come.

The two most common causes of infection in the pulp are deep cavities and fractured or broken teeth. Both expose the pulp to bacteria that live in saliva. These bacteria, which are always present in your mouth, can cause an infection that can kill the pulp. Without treatment, the pus from the infection can eventually gather down at the root tip and pass into the jaw bone, causing an abscess (a pus pocket). The abscess can then damage the bone that surrounds the tooth. The resulting pressure inside the bone and ligaments surrounding the tooth can cause excruciating pain, and left untreated, can even be life threatening.


What Happens During Endodontic Treatment? (What is a Root Canal?)

A local anesthetic will be given. A sheet of latex called the "rubber dam" (we've got nonlatex ones too) will be placed around the tooth to isolate it, hence keeping it clean and dry during treatment. The treatment consists of three or four basic steps, but the number of visits will depend on your particular case. Some treatments take 2 visits but many are just a single visit. Occasionally 3 appointments are needed.

In any case, it depends on the degree of infection/inflammation and degree of treatment difficulty. To me, it's more important to do it the very best we can then to meet a specific time criteria. Let's look at the basic steps for nonsurgical endodontic therapy.

There are, of course, no guarantees. Root canal or endodontic therapy has a very high degree of success, up to 90%. Teeth which can be treated near ideal have a success rate up to ninety percent! We will discuss with you the chances of success before any endodontic procedure to help you make an informed decision. If a root canal or endodontic therapy is unsuccessful or fails you still have options.


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Dr. Mahoney is an active member of
American Dental Association
Washington State Dental Association
SCDS
AGD
AAID
ADSA