Procedure and Complications in Root Canal Therapy


Root canal is one of the most preferred ways of treating problems when your tooth’s nerve and pulp are irritated, inflamed or infected due to deep decay. This decay can be a result of repeated dental procedures, large fillings or a major crack or chip in the tooth. If you are experiencing severe toothache while chewing or application of pressure, prolonged sensitivity or swelling and tenderness in adjoining gum area your dentist would suggest a root canal therapy or treatment. Here in this brief write-up we shall discuss the procedure and complication involved in a root canal therapy.

Root Canal Treatment San Diego

The Root Canal Procedure

A typical root canal procedure would involve visiting a dentist or endodontist once or more. While a dentist deals with a wide range of oral complications and cosmetic dentistry, endodontist specialize in the diagnosing, preventing, and treatment of diseases and injuries in the nerve of the tooth. Often the choice between the two would depend on the level of complication and the difficult involved in the procedure. Your dentist would often take the call on who should perform the procedure. Let us discuss the procedure in a step-wise manner.

Step 1 – The first step involves taking X-rays to determine the gravity of the problem and spot signs of infection in the bone that is invisible during physical examination. Your dentist would use local anesthesia in order to numb the area near your tooth. In some cases the dentist may not use local anesthesia since the nerve is dead.

Step 2 – The next step involved keeping the area dry and free of saliva. Your dentist would use seal the area using a rubber dam.

Step 3 – In the next stage the dentist would drill an access hole to remove the pulp, decayed nerve tissues, bacteria and other debris from the tooth. A number of root canal files are used in this cleaning process where the dentist increases the diameter in each subsequent step to access the hole. During the process water or sodium hypochlorite are used to flush the debris.

Step 4 – Once the tooth has been cleaned it would need to be sealed. In some cases a dentist would wait for a week to seal the teeth. Usually this step is taken when the dentist spots a fresh infection which has to be treated with medication.When the root canal isn’t performed on the same day, a temporary filling may be applied.

Step 5 – In the next stage the dentist would fill the interior of the tooth with a sealer paste or a rubber compound. The access hole drilled would be sealed with a filling.

Step 6 – In some cases the dentist may need to put a crown or a post. This is often in cases where the tooth has undergone other restoration procedures in the past and has large holes.

Complications Involved in Root Canal Therapy

Most root canal complications are free of complication and would be well executed by a professional dentist. However in some case despite your dentist’s best efforts certain complications and infections may arise. There are a number of reasons that can contribute to these complications and some of these include -

When you have infections in multiple teeth there are chances that one of the teeth may remain unattended despite the best efforts of the dentist.
When an undetected crack in the root remains unattended.
Defective or inadequate dental restoration also allows bacteria to get inside the inner aspects of the tooth and these re-contaminate the area leading to complications.
Breakdown in the inner sealing material over time and cause infection in the inner aspects of your tooth and cause severe pain and discomfort.
Re-treatment is successful in most cases of root canal complications. However in some cases you might need to undergo an endodontic surgery to save the tooth. These surgeries treat the inflammation or infection in the bony area of your tooth. Depending on the level of infection or inflammation the tissues or the root may need to be removed. This is followed by placing a small filling to prevent further infection.