Root Canals

Root Canals Specialist

Root canals play an essential role in helping patients avoid tooth loss following decay or damage to the deep, central portion of the tooth. With special instruments and advanced techniques, Dr. Viji Seetharaman performs root canal treatments with little to no discomfort and optimal results in patients at Optima Dental in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Root canals preserve and restore a damaged tooth so patients can avoid extractions and the complications and side effects they cause.

Root Canals Q & A

What is a root canal?

A root canal is a procedure used to treat teeth that have decay or damage in the deep central portion of the tooth, called the pulp. The pulp contains the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues that support the tooth. When these tissues become damaged or decayed, the risks of serious infection and tooth loss increase dramatically. Root canals use special techniques and tools to carefully remove the damaged pulp portion of the tooth while leaving the surrounding tooth material intact, helping patients preserve their natural teeth and avoid extractions.

How are root canals performed?

In principle, a root canal is similar to a regular cavity filling procedure: The damaged portion of the tooth is removed, and the resulting cavity is cleaned and filled. But because the damaged portion of the tooth extends into the deeper portions of the tooth’s interior, special tools and methods are used to avoid damaging the structure of the tooth. After numbing the tooth, Dr. Seetharaman removes the superficial tooth material to expose the inner portion of the tooth. The damaged pulp is carefully extracted, and the interior portion of the tooth is cleaned, taking care to remove all the debris. Dr. Seetharaman applies a special sealant to the area to prevent additional decay or damage to the tooth before applying the filling.

Next, the tooth is prepared for a crown. Application of a crown is always recommended following a root canal to provide additional stability to the tooth and to hide any discoloration which may occur following treatment. Dr. Seetharaman removes a small amount of the tooth surface material to make room for the crown and applies a temporary crown to protect the tooth. The crown itself is made at a dental lab using strong material tinted to match the surrounding teeth. Once the crown is ready, the temporary crown is removed, and the tooth surface is cleaned. Dr. Seetharaman applies the crown using a strong adhesive.

Why are root canals better than having the tooth pulled?

A tooth extraction may sound like a simpler alternative to having a root canal performed, but once a tooth is pulled, it can trigger changes in the gums and jaw bone that can lead to additional tooth loss in the future. Plus, having a tooth pulled can disrupt the normal bite balance, resulting in increased risks for uneven tooth wear and decay, as well as chronic jaw pain and headaches.