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What you should know about the root canal procedure

Your tooth consists of two main parts: the crown, which is the part of the tooth above the gum line, and the root, which is below the gum surrounded by bone. Inside each root is a channel that runs the length of the tooth. This channel is the root canal and it contains the “pulp” (nerves, blood vessels and soft tissue) of the tooth.

Tooth pulp can be irreversibly damaged by bacteria from decay, very deep restorations, fractured tooth, abscess tooth, trauma or gum disease. To preserve a tooth where this has occurred, it is first necessary to remove the diseased pulp tissue. This procedure is known as endodontic therapy, or a root canal procedure. It is always advisable to remove the injured pulp because it may cause tooth infection or act as an irritant to the tooth nerve and other tissues surrounding the tooth.

How is a root canal performed?

Our treatment plan begins with a diagnostic examination to determine if a root canal is the most viable option for saving the tooth. After we make the determination, we remove the injured pulp and thoroughly clean and refill the root canal system. New technologies enable us to perform most root canal treatments in a single visit. However, for a small percentage of patients, a second visit may be needed. Endodontic therapy involves the following steps:

1. We carefully examine and X-ray the tooth, then administer local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, we place a small protective sheet called a "dental dam" to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
2. After making an opening in the crown of the tooth, we use very small instruments to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and shape the space for filling.
3. Once we have cleaned and shaped the space, we fill the root canals with a biocompatible material called "gutta-percha." We place gutta-percha with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals.
4. In most cases, we place a temporary filling to close the opening. Your regular dentist will then remove the temporary filling before restoring the tooth.
5. After your final visit with us, you must return to your regular dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.

For the healthiest smile you have ever had, talk to Harry Singh, DDS, at Progressive Endodontics. Call us at 585.256.1500. You can also use our convenient online Request an Appointment form. Our endodontic therapy patients come to us from Geneseo in Livingston County; Ontario in Wayne County; and Brighton, Webster and Rochester (Clinton Crossings) in Monroe County, NY.

980 Westfall Road
Bldg. 200, Suite 210
Rochester, NY 14618
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1120 Crosspointe Lane
Webster, NY 14580
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4396 Lakeville Road
Geneseo, NY 14454
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