Root canal treatment involves the removal of the pulp tissues from inside the tooth in the event that it gets infected or inflamed. If not treated, this could lead to an abscess. Root canal treatment can save teeth that would otherwise have to be extracted.
Root canal treatment may be required when the tooth has become infected or inflamed due to:-
- deep decay or an extensive restoration that involves the pulp.
- cracked or fractured tooth due to trauma.
- excessive wear of enamel and dentine exposing the pulp.
- sometimes as a result of severe gum disease.
Signs that Root Canal Treatment may be necessary
Signs of pulp damage may include:-
- prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold,
- discoloration of the tooth,
- tenderness of the overlying gums
- a bad taste in the mouth.
On the other hand, there may be no symptoms at all. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.
The Advantages Of Root Canal Treatment
- Root canal treatment saves the tooth that otherwise would have to be extracted and replaced with an implant, bridge or denture. All of these are more invasive, and lead to increased time and cost.
- It maintains your natural dentition to allow you to continue with the same bite, comfort and as natural appearance as possible.
- A root canal treated tooth can function normally and can be maintained with routine dental care and oral hygiene measures.
Future Care of Root Treated Teeth
After root canal treatment the tooth is pulp-less – i.e. it has no vital tissues within.
- Over time, the tooth becomes slightly more brittle and some may need crowning in the future.
- There are vital tissues surrounding the root e.g. the gum, periodontal membrane and supporting bone and these will continue to need routine hygiene and dental care.
- Practise good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing at all times, as root-filled teeth are as prone to decay as natural teeth.
How Is Root Canal Treatment Carried Out?
- Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth.
- The root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed. Debris within the canals is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
- The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material.
- The tooth is restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left.
- Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on the complexity of the tooth. In between treatment appointments, the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
- We usually take X-rays to monitor the various treatment stages.