Root Canals

Mundelein & Hawthorn Woods Dentist

At the office of Dr. Anthony Markiewicz, DDS, FAGD, we're proud to help patients of all ages achieve a beautiful, healthy smile and maintain it for a lifetime. As a leading dental practice serving the Hawthorn Woods & Mundelein, IL area, we strive to create personalized treatment plans for all of our patients, working with each patient individually to find a treatment that fits into their lifestyle. We strive to prioritize preventive care, but when dental decay does occur and progresses to the point of threatening a tooth, root canals are one of the most effective ways of restoring dental health.

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is an endodontic procedure, which is the field of dentistry that works with tissues and structures on the inside of the tooth like dentin and dental pulp. Generally, root canals are performed to save a tooth when dental decay penetrates completely through the outer enamel and dentin, infecting the soft, fleshy pulp of the tooth root. Once decay reaches this stage, it runs the risk of not only destroying the tooth entirely, but infecting tissue in the jaw and putting both the surrounding teeth and jawbone at risk.

Essentially, a root canal involves removing all decayed tooth structure and dental pulp, then filling the empty space left by the pulp – the root canal – with a strong, biocompatible material. Root canals stop decay in its tracks and completely repair the tooth, preventing the pain of a dental infection and restoring your tooth to normal.

What Is Inside a Tooth?Healthy Tooth.

While you may think of teeth simply as hard, white blocks, they're actually complicated physiological structures with several types of tissue. The outer layer is the enamel – a hard, shiny covering that protects the inside of the tooth and chews food. Behind the enamel lies the dentin, which is tissue composed of tiny tubules that transmit sensations from the inside to the outside of the teeth.

At the center of the tooth lies a branching chamber called the root canal, which is filled with soft, fleshy dental pulp. The pulp contains nerve cells and blood vessels that carry sensory information and oxygen from the tooth to the rest of the body. Normally, the pulp is protected by a layer of both dentin and enamel – but if dental decay eats through the enamel and dentin, reaching the dental pulp, it puts the entire tooth at risk.

The most common reason for decay to reach the dental pulp is an untreated cavity, which grows until it finally eats through the entire tooth. However, dental trauma may also cause a crack in the tooth that lets bacteria reach the pulp. In some cases, repeated dental procedures on one tooth may compromise the health of the dental pulp, and routine procedures like orthodontics can even cause these issues – although that's exceedingly rare.

Root canal treatment.

Endodontic Treatment

Endodontic treatment, usually in the form of a root canal, is usually the best option to save a tooth with infected dental pulp. To most people, this sounds like a nightmare – after all, the line "I'd rather have a root canal" is a common joke. But while root canals may be the most dreaded procedure in dentistry, the hype is actually overblown. Root canals are a routine procedure performed under local anesthesia, so patients rarely experience much discomfort. Plus, root canals stop decay, preventing painful toothaches and protecting the health of the mouth.

Every patient is different, but most root canal procedures work like this:

  • First, your endodontist will give you a topical anesthetic to numb the area and keep you comfortable.
  • Once the anesthetic takes effect, your dentist will make a tiny opening in the tooth surface, providing access to the dental pulp and root canals.
  • Using specialized endodontic instruments, your doctor will carefully remove all dead, dying, or infected tissue from the tooth, then clean and disinfect the area.
  • Using a strong, biocompatible material, your dentist will fill the root canal completely, then seal the opening in the tooth to prevent future infections.
  • Once the opening is fully sealed, your tooth will be healthy, strong, and back to normal!

In some cases, patients may need further treatment to address any causes of infection and prevent problems in the future, and many patients will need a restorative treatment like a dental crown to bring the tooth back to its normal appearance. With proper care, however, your newly-healed tooth will last you years!


Contact Your Mundelein & Hawthorn Woods, IL Family Dentist

While we strive to prevent decay wherever possible, root canals are a highly effective treatment for saving a tooth that might otherwise be lost. If you have more questions about endodontic treatment or see a spot on your tooth you think might be a cavity, Dr. Markiewicz would be thrilled to help. Feel free to call us at 847-566-2811 with any questions or reach out to us at our contact page to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you smile brighter soon!

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