Dental Care

Calcified Root Canal

Understanding a calcified root canal.

Millions of people avoid going to their dentists each year simply because the entire process makes them very nervous.

After all, when we are seated in a dentist's chair we become very vulnerable.

Many people really don't want anyone poking about in their mouths either, but this leaves them open to the development of some very serious issues such as gum disease and more.

What this means is that it is vitally important to head to the dentist at the first signs that something is “amiss” in your mouth. Unfortunately, a single visit may not be adequate to resolving every dental problem.

Extra Treatment

Consider the treatment known as the calcified root canal. This is something that comes about even after a patient has behaved responsibly and gone to the dentist to get a cavity filled.

Basically, the process by which the calcified root canal becomes necessary is fairly simple, even if it is also somewhat unfortunate. It normally happens like this:

  • A patient experiences intense pain in a single tooth and makes an appointment with the dentist;
  • After doing some x-rays, the dentist decides that the tooth has a cavity that needs to be filled. Often the dentist will be a bit torn over whether the tooth should have a root canal treatment or just a large filling – and this is where the trouble begins;
  • For this example, the filling was the wrong choice and the tooth that was “sick” now begins to die. As it does this the various canals in the roots and pulp of the tooth begin to collapse and close with calcified materials;
  • In a short time, the entire tooth has died and the patient knows that they are in need of further treatment due to the persistent discomfort they are feeling; and
  • If the condition is still reparable, they are told that they now need a calcified root canal. Otherwise, the tooth must be extracted.

A calcified root canal is more time consuming and lengthy than a traditional one because it will take a while for a dentist to locate the blocked up canals and to use special chemicals to dissolve these blockages.


Normally a material known as EDTA is applied to the tooth and begins dissolving the calcification, which will allow the dentist to go in and perform the root canal therapy.

If the EDTA isn't working the dental professional may have to use some ultrasonic tools to break the blockage away from the canals as well.

It is helpful to understand how general root canals are done in order to understand how the calcification issues will affect the treatment process.

Firstly, a dentist will decide that a root canal is necessary by examining the tooth and surrounding tissue. If it appears that decay and infection have spread from the pulp and into the surrounding areas it is normally going to require the more extensive root canal therapy to save the tooth.

This involves the removal of the entire nerve system in the tooth, the formal cleaning and clearing of the canals and the creation of a filling that relies on antibiotic materials and dental sealants.

The process is quite destructive to the crown of the physical tooth, and often means that the final stage of the treatment is to have reconstructive work done on it.

A Special Case

In the case of the calcified root canal, the dentist isn't going to have such an easy time in getting to the canals and creating the fillings because the material inside of the tooth has fused into a much harder mass than what naturally appears there.

Because they cannot just work blindly and remove all of the tissue in plain sight, they have to take the time to dissolve all of the blockages.

Only then can they go ahead and take away the nerve and blood vessels and begin to treat the infected tooth.

Customers Questions

When a patient learns about this situation they usually have one or two common questions. The first one is “if the tooth is calcified, why do the root canal at all?”

The answer to this is quite simple; the calcification may have occurred, but it didn't select an area that was meant to differentiate between infected and non-infected areas of the tooth. This means that the calcification may actually be on top of an abscess or area of infection, and this can cause the problems to actually spread to neighboring teeth.

The second question is usually “why does the pulp calcify in the first place?” The answer to this is also quite simple. The body responds to chronic irritation, infection and inflammation in a similar way whether it is in the mouth, on the skin, or in the bones, and that is to develop some sort of barrier or shield around the point of the irritation.

So, it is not unnatural for a tooth to begin to calcify around a filling that was not properly addressing the problem. This is because the filling and the original irritation are now both areas of trouble and the body's natural processes are to contain them behind a wall of some kind or another.

The problem with this is that most instances where a calcified root canal is concerned have areas of trapped infection or bacteria that must be addressed, but cannot be managed without the removal of this calcification.


If you hear from your dentist that you need this sort of treatment, you need not panic.

You may have to make three visits to the office (instead of the more traditional two) because the EDTA to dissolve the calcification may need more than a single application.

Apart from this, however, you will find that the process is almost identical to the standard root canal and will almost instantly alleviate the pain, swelling, and infection that the tooth has created.

It is important to remember that the same amount of follow up is necessary to ensure that the root canal itself is a success as well.


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