Endodontics (Root Canal)
Dr. Melissa Kenfield has the experience and credentials you should look for when considering a new dentist for your root canal treatment.
Dedicated to life-long learning, Dr. Kenfield has averaged 60+ continuing education credit hours (per licensing period) throughout her career; the minimum requirements for the state of Indiana are 20 continuing education credit hours per licensing period!
“Excellent service, friendly, skilled, not rushed.”
Dr. Melissa Kenfield , with a high-tech dental office located in Spencer, is always educated and informed on the latest and greatest root canal technologies and trends.
Root Canal Therapy
Sometimes, the only way to resolve an infection and relieve pain is through root canal treatment. It might sound scary, but root canals offer a significant long-term benefit. They represent the last chance of saving a tooth before thinking about its extraction, so all dentists will advise their patients to consider this treatment.
Root canals are the only treatment option for those teeth with long-standing decay. When a cavity isn’t treated on time, the infection keeps progressing until it affects the dental pulp. This inner soft tissue keeps the tooth alive and houses the nerves, so when the decay infects the pulp, it reacts, causing pain (the famous and dreaded toothache). In the long run, the infection can also reach the tip of the tooth’s root, creating an abscess on the side of the gums.
Video 01:00 If you have an abscessed tooth, that means the pulp of tooth is infected and you need root canal therapy.
Click to enlarge. Illustration showing an example of a root canal procedure.
What is a root canal?
A root canal (also known as root canal therapy or endodontic treatment) is a dental procedure that eliminates the infected dental pulp from the inside of a tooth. The dentist then replaces the removed tissue with gutta-percha, biocompatible filling material.
The pulp is a soft tissue found in the very center of the tooth, extending down to every tooth root tip. It is housed in a central chamber with a few canals that run down each root, hence the term root canal. When the pulp is removed, the tooth is basically dead and has no more sensitivity, so it cannot hurt anymore.
For this procedure, the dentist needs to create an access hole. This is an opening at the top of the tooth. Through this hole, she can reach the inner chamber of the tooth. She will use special instruments to remove the infected pulp from the chamber and the canals. After extirpating the tissue, the chamber and canals are cleaned and filled. Finally, the access hole is sealed off. To be fully restored, the tooth may need a dental crown placed.
What is the alternative to having a root canal?
The only possible alternative to root canal therapy is having the tooth removed. As mentioned before, root canal treatment is usually the last option available to save a severely damaged tooth. Having said so, patients need to be aware that the root canal should be performed as soon as the dentist indicates it. If not, the infection can spread to the surrounding bone, and there will be no option but to extract the tooth.
We advise our patients to invest time and money in saving a tooth with a root canal. It is more conservative and affordable than losing the tooth and replacing it with an implant or a dental bridge.
Should I get a root canal?
Having a root canal done on a severely damaged tooth is always advisable. No tooth replacement alternative is as good as natural teeth.
If you have a tooth extensively affected by decay, our dentist will examine it to see if you’re a suitable candidate for root canal therapy. A clinical exam and x-rays will be required to evaluate the vitality of the tooth and the health of surrounding tissues. If deciding against the root canal, the tooth will likely need extracting.
Parts of the Tooth
Video 01:00 | Have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? The two main parts of the tooth are the crown and the root. The crown is the white part of the tooth you can see while the root is unseen below the gumline. Learn more about the various parts of a tooth and how good oral health care as well as regular dental visits, can help to keep your smile healthy and beautiful.