Root Canal Therapy
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment describes treatment relating to problems of the tooth's soft core; the dental pulp or nerve.
Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given us a safe way of saving teeth.
What is the Dental Pulp?
Dental Pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the jawbones.
How is the Pulp Damaged?
When the pulp is diseased or injured and can't repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of nerve death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can allow germs (bacteria) to enter the nerve.
The germs eventually cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone forming a "pus-pocket", called an abscess.
An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth.
Why does the pulp need to be removed?
If the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain by-products of the infection can injure your jawbones.
Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
What does the treatment involve?
Root canal treatment often involves from one to three visits to the dentist. During treatment we remove the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal(s) of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
Here's how your tooth is saved through treatment:
First, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth
The pulp is removed
The root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped to a form that can be filled.
Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canals to help get rid of germs and prevent infection.
A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
The pulp chamber and root canals are filled and sealed
The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and filled
Sometimes where there is insufficient tooth tissue remaining a reinforcing post is bonded into one of the canals, prior to a crown being made
In the final step, a gold or porcelain crown is usually placed over the tooth. If an endodontist (a specialist) performs the treatment, he or she will recommend that you return to us for this final step
How long will the restored tooth last?
Your restored tooth could last a lifetime if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the tissues around it nourish the root(s) of a treated tooth, it will remain healthy.