Root Canal Therapy

Tooth nerves can become infected, decayed or even die. That’s when root canal therapy becomes necessary. Preserving the tooth should be your number one concern, so the process of removing all living and decayed/dead tissue is required. The space caused by the removal of what is known as the tooth pulp, nerves, bacteria and decay is then filled with specially prepared dental material which is medicated, thereby restoring the tooth.

Not undergoing root canal therapy will eventually lead to the loss of a tooth or even surrounding teeth. The preservation of the tooth is believed to be the safest and lasting solution available. In decades past (nearly one hundred years) it was thought that extracting the tooth was best, as medical science didn’t fully realize what was involved. Back then when a tooth was pulled, it usually led to additional dental work, like the need for a bridge. Rather than remove the tooth, it is our job to assure your adjacent teeth remain in place, and that there is no bone loss. Root canal therapy makes the most sense. Root canal therapy should last your entire life, however future infection is possible without proper oral hygiene.

Indicators of the need for root canal therapy

  • Tenderness or swelling of the gums
  • Abscess on your gums (pimple or bump)
  • Severe toothache pain
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sometimes there are no indicators

Why root canal therapy is necessary

  • Injury to your tooth
  • Oral trauma left untreated
  • Tooth decay is deep enough to affect the tooth pulp
  • Infection and/or abscess has developed inside the tooth or root tip


More than one appointment may be necessary. The root canal therapy is performed by a dentist or an endodontist (specializes in treating root canal issues).

With the use of a local anesthetic, your affected tooth area is numbed, and a rubber dam is placed around the tooth. This will prevent saliva from affecting the tooth, as it needs to be dry. A small opening is made on the top of the tooth, and with a series of root canal files, the pulp, nerve tissue and infection/bacteria is removed. Should dental decay also be present, the dentist or endodontist will remove all of that as well, using dental instruments designed specifically for such a purpose.

Upon successful removal of all tissue and bacteria, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and dried. A special seal cement or, in the case of dental decay restoration, a permanent filling is placed. Should multiple appointments be necessary, the dentist will place a temporary filling and replace it in a future appointment.

If the tooth has a temporary filling, the next appointment will require the tooth cavity to be filled and sealed. A filling will fill the opening created to perform the therapy, and a crown is then placed to protect the tooth.

Sensitivity may still be present after the procedure, but should subside once the inflammation and gum tissues are healed. An ongoing treatment plan will be discussed for all future appointments.

Proper oral hygiene should prevent further need for root canal therapy, however there cannot be guarantees due to the nature of all of us to succumb to infection from time to time.



Dr. Joel Moskowitz, DMD
The Dental Center
28 Bowling Green Parkway
Suite 6
Lake Hopatcong, NJ 07849

tel: (973) 663-4220
fax: (973) 663-6136



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