Root Canal Therapy

Dentist in Towson

When a tooth becomes diseased or injured, a bacterium builds up inside the tooth. When this occurs, infection may spread from the natural crown of the tooth to the root tips in the jawbone. This infection may produce pain that is severe, constant or throbbing. There may be constant or occasional sensitivity to hot, cold and/or sweets. Swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gums may develop. In some instances, facial swelling and discoloration of the tooth may also occur. Should any or all of these symptoms develop, a root canal (endodontic procedure) may be deemed necessary by Drs. Ousborne and Keller to alleviate the symptoms and prevent the spread of the infection.

A root canal is a very common dental procedure in which the diseased or damaged pulp of a tooth is removed and the inside areas are cleaned, filled and sealed. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia.

The Procedure

First, the dentist will remove any tooth decay that may be present. Next, an access to the pulp chamber is carefully created. This access also relieves the pressure inside the tooth and should dramatically ease any existing pain. The entire space of the diseased pulp tissue is cleaned and the bacterium is flushed out with a disinfectant solution, along with any remaining debris. Many times the tooth is permanently sealed immediately using gutta percha (an inert, non-reactive, filling material) and a temporary restoration is placed.

Occasionally, however, it may be suggested that the tooth be monitored approximately two weeks to ensure that it is completely free of active infection. Once the canals are deemed completely clean and free of infection, the canals will be sealed and a temporary restoration will be fabricated.

It is important to note that the dental pulp nourishes and hydrates the tooth structure making it more resilient, less brittle and less prone to fracture. Once this pulp has been removed (root canal treatment), it is not uncommon for the tooth to require some sort of follow up restoration such as a post and core buildup or even a full crown, depending on how much tooth structure was removed.

Drs. Ousborne and Keller will determine the extent of the needed permanent restoration once the tooth is symptom free. If you have any questions regarding root canals or would like to schedule an evaluation, please contact Ousborne and Keller at (410) 828-1177 or