Root Canal Treatment
What is a root canal?
Teeth are made up of three layers, enamel, dentin and the pulp being the core of the tooth where the tissue and nerves are located. When your tooth is cracked or damaged the pulp can become exposed, and the tissue can become contaminated and infected. This may cause a serious toothache when eating, sensitive teeth, and tender gums near the infected tooth.
When is a root canal required?
Root canal treatment (or endodontic surgery) is required when there is an infection deep in the tooth's pulp, and dental decay begins. While extremely painful, if for some reason root canal is left untreated, it may lead to a tooth abscess or even the loss of the tooth. In these cases, the treatment is usually root canal treatment to save the tooth that otherwise would need extraction.
What does root canal treatment involve?
Using x-rays, Dr Chodree will assess the extent of the infection before proceeding with root canal surgery. Root canal treatment is otherwise known as endodontic surgery. Endodontic treatment is started and an anaesthetic is used to keep you comfortable through the process. It involves the dentist creating a hole in the top of the tooth to gain access to the pulp after which the infected tissue in the tooth's pulp is removed. Once infected tissue is removed, the tooth is disinfected and sealed using a rubbery sealant which will seal the root structure and prevent reinfection.
A temporary tooth filling is used to close the opening in the tooth and prevent the tooth from cracking until the final restoration is placed. Root canal treatment usually takes 2 appointments to complete. Once the crown has been custom made to fit the tooth, it is fitted in the follow-up appointment.
What can I expect after?
These days, endodontic surgery is performed using advanced technology and advanced techniques; thus your comfort is prioritised during this procedure. You may experience moderate pain and sensitivity of the tooth and some gum soreness for a few days after the surgery, but pain medication will be prescribed. Afterwards, avoid hard substances and be very gentle with the tooth before the crown is fitted. Thereafter, your pain should subside, and once the crown is fitted, you should be back to normal.
In a healthy tooth, the innermost pulp layer containing the nerves and blood vessels for the tooth is intact. This pulp tissue keeps the tooth vital.
Dental decay can cause the pulp tissue to die, creating toxic by products. An infectious process begins causing pain and pressure within the root, and eventually an abscess forms.
When root canal treatment is performed, an opening is created through the top of the tooth to gain access to the pulp. The decayed tissue and infectious debris is cleaned out of the canals using small files.
Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned and are free of bacteria, they are sealed with a filling material and usually the abscess will heal. A temporary filling is used to close the opening in the tooth until the final restoration is placed.