Root Canal Therapy

A ROOT CANAL, or endodontic therapy, is necessary when a tooth becomes severely inflamed, or infected, due to trauma, deep decay, a crack or large chip, or after repeated dental procedures. The inflammation or infection can cause root end abscesses, severe pain, and swelling of the face, and can affect the ability to open or close the mouth.

Endodontic therapy treats the inside, or pulp, of the tooth. During a root canal the inflamed or infected pulp is removed, and the inside of the canals are cleaned and disinfected. The canals are then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta percha to prevent re-infection. The tooth is then restored with a crown or a filling to protect the tooth and add strength. A root canal can save your natural tooth, preserves the smile, and can last a long time.

Dr. Cho-Polizzi accepts referrals from all dentists in the area, saving  patients the drive “over the hill”.  Call (707) 964-0255 for an appointment.

Endodontic Procedure

When you are seen by the doctor for a toothache an xray will be taken , and some tests performed, to determine if a root canal is what is needed to save your tooth. If you are being referred to us your dentist will do this exam and will send the xray to our office.Antibiotics will be prescribed to reduce the infection and you will come to the office after being on them for several days to have the endodontic treatment done. This treatment can usually be done in one visit. The appointment will be from 1 to 2 hours long.

First, Dr. Cho-Polizzi will inject anesthetic to numb the area and relieve any pain.  Root canal therapy does not need to be painful, and adequate anesthesia can usually be accomplished if the infection has been reduced enough by the antibiotics.   When the area is numb, the doctor will then make an opening through the  chewing surface of the tooth to access the pulp, and locate the canal, or canals ,within the tooth. A dental dam ( a small rubber sheet) will be placed around the tooth to protect the mouth, and small instruments will be used to remove the infection ,and debris ,from the canals. The canals will be cleaned and shaped, then flushed with an antiseptic solution and dried. A bio-compatible material, called gutta percha will be placed with a cement to completely fill the shaped canals. Either a temporary or permanent filling will be placed at that time.

An additional course of antibiotics and pain killers, may be prescribed following the root canal appointment.  There may be sensitivity for a few days following the procedure. This is usually caused by inflammation from having the procedure done, and can be relieved by using an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium, for several days.

After endodontic treatment is completed you will need to return to your dentist to have the temporary filling removed, if one was place, and a permanent filling, or crown ,placed to protect the tooth and return it to full function.