Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy (endodontics) is a dental procedure whereby the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth) is removed. 

Having endodontic therapy is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would have to be extracted. 

Signs and symptoms for possible endodontic therapy:

  • An abscess (or drainage tract) on the gums.
  • Acute sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe discomfort to chewing pressure.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.
  • At times, there are no clinical symptoms at all.

Reasons for endodontic therapy:

  • Decay has reached the tooth pulp.
  • Infection or abscess have developed inside the tooth or at the tooth root tip.
  • Injury or trauma to the tooth.

What does endodontic  therapy involve?

An endodontic procedure usually can be accomplished at one appointment and can be performed by a general dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist).

While the tooth is numb, a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep it dry and free of saliva.  An access opening is made on top of the tooth and a series of root canal files are placed into the opening, one at a time, removing the pulp, nerve tissue, and bacteria.  If tooth decay is present, it will also be removed with special dental instruments.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with a permanent root canal filling.

In most cases, endodontically treated teeth need permanent crown coverage to guard against tooth fracture.

Dr. Sterley works with many Indianapolis area, board certified endodontists.  You will be given care instructions after each appointment.  Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your endodontically treated tooth.