How Safe Is A Root Canal?

The relationship of our teeth and mouth to overall good health is indisputable. Endodontics plays a critical role in maintaining good oral health by eliminating infection and pain and preserving our natural dentition.

A vital responsibility of any endodontist is to reassure patients concerned about the safety of endodontic treatment that their overall well-being is a top priority. We're here to help educate anxious patients with information about the safety or root canal therapy and the processes surrounding it.

The American Association of Endodontists website is the also a fantastic place for patients to obtain comprehensive information on the safety and efficacy of endodontics and root canal treatment.

The effectiveness of root canal treatment is well-established. However, misinformation continues circulating on the Internet that may cause patients to question the safety of endodontics. It is in the best interest of patients to understand: 

  • There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal-treated teeth and disease elsewhere in the body. A root canal is a safe and effective procedure. When a severe infection in a tooth requires endodontic treatment, that treatment is designed to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal, prevent reinfection, and save the natural tooth. 

Infection and abscess of the pulp always require endodontics to relieve the symptoms. Root Canal Therapy's primary goal is removing decaying material, maintaining dryness, cleanliness, and sterility within the root canals, and filling and sealing the root canals.

The initial procedure is usually performed in the following manner:

  1. We anesthetize your tooth.
  2. Before treatment, we place a latex rubber dam with a small hole, only exposing the tooth we're treating. This dam allows us to keep the tooth clean and sterile.
  3. The endodontist uses a handpiece/drill to access your tooth's pulp.
  4. We establish the exact length of your tooth using either a digital scan/x-ray or a piece of equipment called an apex finder. An apex finder uses electrical conductivity from the narrowest point of your tooth's root to locate and measure the end of the root.
  5. We remove the decayed matter, blood vessels, and nerve tissues from the apex and then widen or enlarge the canal. This step is performed with a file, broach, reamer, or handpiece.
  6. We flush out the canal using sterile water, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium hypochlorite. This step helps remove any dead tissue, bacteria, or other debris.
  7. After the canal is cleaned, we dry the canal and place a cotton pellet in the opening. This cotton pellet disinfects and sterilizes the canal.
  8. We close the opening with temporary cement to protect the tooth between visits. This is temporary until your next visit to Northwest Arkansas Endodontic Specialists.

Follow-Up Appointment(s):

A complete root canal therapy procedure might take up to three visits. It depends on the number of canals receiving treatment, the positioning of the tooth/teeth, and how damaged the pulp was.

After the root canal is performed, when the tooth is ready, we permanently seal the tooth using a filling, post, or crown. The seal type is determined by the amount of tooth remaining.

Check out some additional safety information available:

If you have any questions about root canals, don't hesitate to get in touch with us! We're happy to help and ease any concerns you may have.

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