Primary Care

Root Canals

What is a root canal?

The root canal is a tunnel in the center of the tooth holding the tooth's pulp (nerve, blood vessels and lymphatics). Root canal therapy is a treatment which involves removing infected contents from the center of the tooth, sterilizing the canal, and replacing the removed material with dental material which provides antibiotic action. The tooth is then restored to function.

How can I tell that my dog needs root canal therapy?

When dogs break their teeth and the pulp is exposed, bacterial and oral debris enter into the center of the tooth, eventually causing the nerves and blood vessels to die. The bacteria then move down the nerve and destroy the tooth support.This can be painful. Once a tooth is broken with the pulp exposed the only two choices for treatment are root canal therapy, which usually saves the tooth, or extraction.

Why would I want my dog to have a root canal instead of an extraction?

Root canal therapy is less invasive than extraction, and in most cases, root canal therapy saves the tooth for the rest of the dog's life.To extract a tooth that has good periodontal support, incisions are made through the gums to the supporting bone, the bone on the outside of the tooth is removed and the tooth extracted. Sutures are placed to close the wound. If you and your veterinarian determine that a root canal is the best treatment for your pet we will refer you to a veterinary dentist. 

Is root canal therapy painful?

Just the opposite. Root canal therapy removes the infected pulp and fills the canal with a material which kills bacteria. In most cases the destruction to the surrounding tooth support tissues stops and resolves after root canal therapy.