The root canal of a tooth consists of nerves and blood vessels which keep the tooth alive and healthy. When the root canal system becomes infected or inflamed, root canal therapy is needed to save the tooth.
Diagnosing an Infected Root Canal System
There are various signs of an infected root canal system, including toothaches, lingering sensitivity, swollen gums and discharge or drainage from the tooth (abcess). If you’re experiencing these symptoms, be sure to schedule an appointment with your dentist. During this appointment, your dentist may take X-rays if they suspect a root canal system infection.
If your dentist diagnoses you with an infected root canal system, they may either perform the root canal therapy themselves, or refer you to an endodontist for a root canal procedure.
Types of Root Canal Procedures
Standard root canal treatment (RCT) is the most common form of root canal therapy. During standard RCT, files and treatment fluids are used to remove the infected tissue and clean and disinfect the root canal system.
Those patients looking for an alternative to standard root canal treatment may choose the GentleWave® Procedure. This root canal procedure is a minimally invasive alternative1 that has been described as more comfortable than standard RCT.4
Another option for those suffering from an infected root canal system is a dental implant. This includes extraction of the infected tooth and the insertion of a metal post in the jaw with a porcelain crown.
What Happens During the Root Canal
The exact process of your root canal treatment or procedure will differ depending on your specific condition, as well as the method of root canal therapy you choose.
Anesthesia During a Root Canal
Both local anesthesia and numbing agents are typically used during a root canal procedure.* Your dentist or endodontist will numb the gums surrounding the infected tooth, and then inject a local anesthetic to completely numb the area.*
Removing the Infected Pulp
The goal of root canal therapy is to remove the infected tissue within the root canal system. If the canals within the root canal system are not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, they may become infected again, which requires root canal retreatment.
During standard root canal treatment, files and treatment fluids are used to remove the infected tissue. However, since the root canal system may have several twists and turns, it can often be difficult for standard RCT to reach all of the infected tissue.
During the GentleWave Procedure, fluid dynamics and broad spectrum acoustic energy are used. This alternative to standard RCT is able to reach the deepest, most complex portions of the root canal system,1,2 including the microscopic spaces that standard root canal treatment cannot.3 With such effective cleaning of the root canal system, there’s less chance of failure over time.4
The Root Canal Process
Root canal therapy may include one or two visits to your dentist or endodontist.
Choosing Your Root Canal Provider
If you’re interested in a minimally invasive1 root canal procedure that helps you save your natural tooth, use our Provider Finder to locate a dentist or endodontist in your area with the GentleWave System.