When the nerve of a tooth becomes affected by decay or infection, a root canal may be required to restore the tooth. Root canal therapy involves removing the infection and sealing the inside of the tooth in order to restore full function to the tooth and mouth. To learn more about your restorative and holistic dental options, please contact our La Mesa, CA dental practice.

Current endodontic procedures offer patients the opportunity to save a tooth when it is infected inside the pulp chamber. The common term for this is Root Canal Therapy.The chamber inside the middle of the tooth is called the pulp. If an infection gets into the pulp, either from the root or from decay working its way into the tooth, then the bacteria infect the pulp. This is where the nerve and the blood vessels that support the tooth are. When they get infected, the tooth can become temperature sensitive, pressure sensitive and spontaneously ache (or throb). The only treatment at this point is generally drilling into the center of the tooth, cleaning out the pulp chamber and filling it with a medicated cement and sealer. Typically, if a tooth has a root canal, it will often weaken the tooth and then require coverage on the top such as a crown to protect it from becoming brittle and fracturing or discoloring.

If a tooth has an infection that isn’t saved by conventional treatment, then it may be necessary for your La Mesa dentist to do an apicoectomy – which is simply the removal of the tip of the tooth, where the infection often lies. Some teeth have a series of roots that are shaped like an upside down tree. In other words, they don’t simply have just one simple canal going down each root. As a result of this, there may be a reinfection of the tooth in the future. Most of the time, the cement that we use to fill the canals will squeeze out into these minute canals and seal them up, however, occasionally (less than 5% of the time), these canals are so tiny, or they are at an angle that doesn’t allow the cement to flow into them to seal them up. This is when an apicoectomy (generally done by a specialist) is done.