Root Canal Treatment
Underneath your tooth’s outer enamel and within the dentin is an area of soft tissue called the pulp, which carries the tooth’s nerves, veins, arteries and lymph vessels. Root canals are very small, thin divisions that branch off from the top pulp chamber down to the tip of the root. A tooth has at least one but no more than four canals.
Often you feel pain prior to getting a root canal treatment because when the pulp becomes infected due to a deep cavity or fracture that allows bacteria to seep in, or injury due to trauma, it can die. Damaged or dead pulp causes increased blood flow and cellular activity, and pressure cannot be relieved from inside the tooth. Pain in the tooth is commonly felt when biting down, chewing on it and applying hot or cold foods and drinks.
Why do I need a root canal treatment ?
You will need a root canal treatment because the tooth will not heal by itself. Without a root canal treatment, the infection will spread, bone around the tooth will begin to degenerate, and the tooth may fall-out. Pain usually worsens until one is forced to seek emergency dental attention. The only alternative is usually extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift crookedly and tip, resulting in a bad bite. Though an extraction is cheaper, the space left behind will require an implant or a bridge, which can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you have the choice, it’s always best to keep your original teeth.
What is a root canal treatment?
A root canal is a procedure done to save the tooth, which has a damaged or diseased pulp, by cleaning out the diseased pulp and reshaping the canal. The canal is filled with gutta percha, a rubberlike material, to prevent recontamination of the tooth. The tooth is then permanently sealed with possibly a post and/or a gold or porcelain crown. This enables patients to keep the original tooth.
What happens after root canal treatment?
Natural tissue inflammation may cause discomfort for a few days, which can be controlled by an over-the-counter analgesic. A follow-up exam after the root canal treatment can monitor tissue healing. From this point on, brush and floss regularly, avoid chewing hard foods on the treated tooth, and see your dentist regularly.
What are the risks and complications of a root canal treatment?
More than 95 percent of root canal treatments are successful. However, sometimes a case needs to be redone due to diseased canal offshoots that went unnoticed or the fracturing of a canal filing instrument used-both of which rarely occur. Occasionally, a root canal therapy will fail altogether, marked by a return of pain.
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
After the tooth is anesthetized, an opening is made through the crown into the pulp chamber.
The lengths of the roots’ canals are determined.
Unhealthy pulp is removed. Canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped using progressively larger endodontic files.
Canals are filled and sealed. A metal post may be added for structural support or to retain restorative materials.
The tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. Usually a gold or porcelain crown adds further protection.