Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment or Endodontic Therapy

Patient pointing to beautiful teeth

A “root canal” procedure involves accessing the middle or core of the tooth. An opening is made in the chewing surface of the infected tooth. Through this opening, the nerve and blood vessels are removed and the open space, or canal, is cleaned and shaped. A special filling material called gutta percha, is placed in the canal to seal the tooth and prevent further infection. A regular filling material, either amalgam or composite, is then placed in that opening of the chewing surface of the tooth. Most teeth that have had endodontic therapy will require the additional support of a crown.

Root canal therapy may be indicated in the following situations:

  • deep dental decay that has reached the tooth’s nerve
  • traumatic injury to face and teeth
  • to allow for a post to help restore a fractured tooth
  • to remove inflammation to reduce severe tooth sensitivity
  • to provide more space to cover a poorly shaped tooth

Teeth that need endodontic treatment and have complicated anatomy, difficult access, or unusual presentation are typically referred to a specialized dentist, called an endodontist. We are fortunate to have more than one endodontist available in Lincoln. An endodontist performs root canal treatment and then you return to our office for the final restoration of that tooth. Dr. Steckelberg will build up the missing tooth structure and usually place a crown over that tooth to protect it from possible fracture. Sometimes a post may also be placed into the root canal filling material for added support.

Root Canal Retreatment

Not all teeth respond properly to non-surgical endodontic treatment. These teeth will be referred to an endodontist for evaluation and further treatment, if indicated. With modern advances in dentistry, we are able to save more teeth than our predecessors in the dental field. In endodontic retreatment, often the root canal is re-opened and retreated non-surgically.

Sometimes, a surgical procedure called an apicoectomy may also be performed. This involves removing residual infection present at the root tips and is done by a dentist specially trained in this procedure.

Our office may collaborate with an endodontist and a periodontist if you have a complicated dental situation. Occasionally, a tooth may not be able to be saved and will need to be removed, or extracted. We are able to remove most teeth in our office.