Wedgewood Dental

The Role of Root Canals in Preserving Natural Teeth

The Role of Root Canals in Preserving Natural Teeth

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure designed to treat and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. This treatment involves removing the damaged or infected pulp from inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and then filling and sealing them to prevent further infection. Root canal therapy is needed when the tooth's pulp becomes inflamed or infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures, or a crack or chip in the tooth. By preserving the natural tooth, root canal therapy in Rolla, MO, helps maintain proper chewing function, protects other teeth from excessive wear, and prevents the need for extraction, which could lead to further dental complications. 

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal 

  • Persistent or severe toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure, can indicate an infected or inflamed pulp inside the tooth. 
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures that lingers after the stimulus is removed may indicate nerve damage or infection within the tooth. 
  • Swelling or tenderness in the gums near the affected tooth, which may appear as a pimple-like bump (abscess) on the gums, can signal infection spreading from the tooth root. 
  • Darkening or discoloration of the tooth, which may be visible to the naked eye, can indicate that the nerve tissue or pulp is damaged. 
  • Deep decay, cracks, or chips in the tooth that expose the pulp to bacteria and infection may necessitate root canal therapy to remove the damaged tissue and restore the tooth's health. 
  • A tooth that feels loose or unstable in its socket often accompanied by pain or discomfort, may require root canal treatment to address underlying infection or damage to the tooth root. 

The Root Canal Procedure 

Diagnosis and Examination 

The dentist in Rolla, MO, begins by examining the tooth and taking X-rays to assess the extent of damage and determine if root canal treatment is necessary. 

Local Anesthesia 

Before starting the procedure, local anesthesia is administered to numb the affected tooth and the surrounding area, ensuring the patient remains comfortable throughout the treatment. 

Access to the Tooth Pulp 

The dentist creates a small access hole in the tooth's crown to reach the infected or damaged pulp inside the pulp chamber and root canals. 

Pulp Removal 

The dentist carefully removes the infected or damaged pulp tissue from the pulp chamber and root canals using specialized instruments called files. The canals are cleaned thoroughly to remove bacteria and debris. 

Shaping and Irrigation 

The root canals are shaped to prepare them for filling. Antimicrobial solutions are then irrigated to disinfect the canals and ensure that all bacteria are eliminated. 

Filling the Root Canals 

Once cleaned and shaped, the root canals are filled with a biocompatible gutta-percha material. This material seals the canals to prevent bacteria from re-entering and causing further infection. 

Sealing the Access Hole 

After filling the root canals, the access hole in the tooth's crown is sealed with a temporary or permanent filling. In some cases, a crown may be recommended to protect and restore the tooth's strength and function. 


A follow-up appointment may be scheduled to monitor healing and ensure the tooth responds well to treatment. In cases where a crown is needed, impressions may be taken during this appointment. Contact us today to learn more.

Root Canals vs. Extractions 

Root canal treatment involves removing infected or damaged pulp inside the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the root canals, and sealing them to prevent further infection. This procedure aims to save the natural tooth, maintaining its functionality and appearance. It's typically recommended when the tooth can be preserved and has sufficient healthy structure to support a restoration like a crown. Benefits include preserving the natural tooth, restoring normal biting and chewing function, and preventing the need for more extensive dental work to fill the gap left by extraction. 

Tooth extraction, however, involves completely removing a tooth from its socket in the jawbone. This procedure is typically recommended when a tooth is severely damaged, infected beyond repair, or poses a risk to oral health. Reasons for extraction include extensive decay, trauma, or crowding. While extraction may be necessary in cases where saving the tooth is not feasible, it can lead to issues such as bone loss and changes in bite alignment if not replaced promptly with options like implants, bridges, or dentures. 

The choice between root canal treatment and extraction depends on several factors, including the extent of damage to the tooth, overall oral health, patient preference, and cost considerations. Root canal treatment preserves the natural tooth and its function but requires a commitment to ongoing oral care. Extraction may be chosen when preservation is not possible or practical, requiring replacement to maintain oral function and prevent further dental complications. Consulting with a dentist is essential to determine the most appropriate treatment based on individual circumstances and goals for oral health. 

Root canal treatment is a valuable procedure that allows dentists to save teeth that would otherwise require extraction due to infection or damage. If you're experiencing persistent tooth pain or suspect you may need root canal treatment, visit Wedgewood Dental offices at 713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla, MO 65401, or 1116 S. Main Street, Salem, MO 65560 to learn more about root canal treatment and take the first step towards a healthier smile. You can also reach us at (573)368-7325 or (573)729-7701.


713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401

Office Hours

MON 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

TUE Closed

WED - THU 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 368-7325


1116 S. Main Street, Salem MO 65560

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

WED - THU Closed

FRI 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 729-7701