Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy can relieve the source of pain and save a tooth from extraction
In the past root canal therapy was avoided because it could be – at times – quite painful. Now, however, with modern dental treatments and techniques root canal treatment can be no more painful than a filling. Root canal therapy becomes necessary when the pulp of your tooth becomes either infected or inflamed. The pulp chamber of your tooth contains the root canal system and living tissue that keeps your tooth alive. The pulp of a tooth includes:
- Blood vessels
- Connective tissues
When this pulp becomes inflamed or infected it causes swelling and pressure inside the tooth. Since this pressure has nowhere to go it causes severe pain and eventually irreversible damage to the pulp. If you experience this severe pain and then it starts to subside, be worried. This means the infection is spreading. Generally it spreads into the bone.
In order to save the tooth and alleviate severe pain a root canal treatment is necessary.
What is involved in a root canal treatment
This treatment cleans out the infected pulp and roots to remove what’s causing the pain. This saves the tooth from extraction and helps to prevent the decay reaching your jaw and other teeth. Depending on the severity of the problem root canal treatment can take between 2 and 3 appointments. At your initial consultation we will take x-rays to determine the extent of the decay. How much pulp has to be removed determines how many treatments you will require.
To remove the pulp, the tooth and surrounding gums will be numbed and then a tiny access hole is drilled through the biting surface of the tooth or from behind, depending on which tooth it is. The access hole allows your dentist to remove the dead and diseased pulp from the root canals and pulp chamber. When these have been cleaned and disinfected they are then shaped to allow for the special material to be placed.
After the root canals have been shaped they will be cleaned once again and then a thermoplastic material (thermo means “heat”, plastic means “to shape”) is used to seal the canal and pulp chamber. Then a filling is used to cover the tiny access hole.
Now, depending on the severity of your condition you will need either a filling or a dental crown to protect the tooth. After you dentist has placed the temporary filling over the access hole they will explain to you what needs to happen next.
After a root canal treatment you’ll be given antibiotics and your hygienist will show you how to take care of your treated tooth.