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Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection.  In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials, which restore the tooth to its full function.

Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed.  Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.

Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections.

Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:

  • An abscess (or pimple) on the gums.
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • Severe toothache pain.
  • Sometimes no symptoms are present.
  • Swelling and/or tenderness.

Reasons for root canal therapy:

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

What does root canal therapy involve?

A root canal procedure requires one or more appointments and can be performed by a 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 either a permanent filling or, if additional appointments are needed, a temporary filling will be placed.

At the next appointment, usually a week later, the roots and the inside cavity of the tooth will be filled and sealed with special dental materials.  A filling will be placed to cover the opening on top of the tooth.  In addition, all teeth that have root canal treatment should have a crown (cap) placed.  This will protect the tooth and prevent it from breaking, and restore it to its full function.

After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed.

You will be given care instructions after each appointment.  Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.

Testimonials.

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Testimonials

"His shots don't hurt, and I love going to the dentist!"

Alissa Dzenko Oakwood Christian Academy, 3rd Grade Chickamauga, GA

My visit to Smiles of Chattanooga was unlike anything I could have imagined. I was sitting in the waiting room for no more than five minutes when someone came out to greet me by name and started introducing me to everyone behind the front desk. After I filled out my paperwork I was taken on a tour of the building so I'd feel comfortable. I again sat for only a few minutes when I was taken back and introduced to the hygienist. I ended up staying for about six hours getting work done. I was offered blankets and pillows in case I was child. For the short periods I was alone in a room they gave me an I pad to entertain myself and while being worked on I had headphones with music. I am usually nervous when I have to see any type of doctor but everyone here was so friendly and supportive that I actually look forward to my next visit. Smiles of Chattanooga have changed my perception of what I should expect when I'm a patient. I felt like I was hanging out with good friends and left feeling better about myself. Thank you to everyone there.

-Judith Ferguson

I can't say enough kind words about how wonderful of an experience Dr. Gallien and his team provides us. Worth every penny and mile to come see, the practice far exceeds our expectations with kind words, huge smiles, genuine courtesy and appreciation. We absolutely love visiting Dr. Gallien and will continue to do so for years to come.

-Jennifer Hodnett

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