The space inside the tooth from the center, known as the pulp chamber, that travels down the length of the root to the tip (or apex) is called a "canal," or more specifically, a root canal. Human teeth may have one to four root canals, depending on the anatomy of the tooth.
Root canal therapy can be preformed in single or multiple visits. If you had an infection or abscess in the tooth, Dr. Caldwell may choose to have you start antibiotics before completing the root canal. Dr. Caldwell will begin the appointment by giving you local anesthetic to "numb" the tooth that is being worked on. After your tooth is "numb", you may expect the following procedures:
Once Dr. Caldwell is confident that the entire tooth has been cleaned out, the tooth is dried with tiny absorbent paper points. When completely dry, Dr. Caldwell will place a material (called "gutta percha") in to the tooth. Gutta percha is a rubber material designed to seal the inside of the tooth.
Dr. Caldwell will remove any remaining decay from the tooth and will decide to either put a temporary filling on to close the tooth or proceed with placing a permanent filling. Chances are, Dr. Caldwell will recommend having a crown put on to the tooth. Since the nerve and blood supply to the tooth has been taken away, the tooth may become brittle over time, resulting in a cracked tooth. A crown is designed to prevent this from happening.