ENDODONTICS (ROOT CANALS)
Root canals (endodontic) are required to save the tooth if the pulp, the living, soft-tissue center of the tooth, is dying. The two main causes of death of the pulp are decay (caries) and injuries. Most root canals are done by entering the pulp through the chewing surface of the tooth, cleaning out decay as well as dead pulp remnants and bacteria. The pulp chamber and root canals are filed and irrigated with chemicals to clean and sterilize them. The canals are then filled with a sterile, inert filling material and a sealer.
Teeth that have received a root canal can be filled, crowned and used as an attachment for a fixed bridge or removable partial, depending on need. Most textbooks say that the success rate of root canals is about 90% over ten years. I have completed between 4,400 and 4,500 root canals since I began practice in the Albuquerque area thirty-three years ago. We know of about 34 or 35 failures in that time.