Root canal therapy (or endodontics) involves removing infected pulp from the innermost part of the tooth. This prevents the infection from spreading and can help save a tooth that may otherwise have to be extracted.
The pulp is made up of soft tissue, including nerves and blood vessels, and extends from the crown to the tips of the root. Damage to the pulp is normally caused by decay, a deep filling or trauma to the tooth. Symptoms can include pain, increased sensitivity to temperature, discolouration, a metallic taste, gum tenderness or swelling.
Can save an infected tooth from extraction
Removes a source of infection that could spread to other areas
Prevents further problems that could be caused by losing a tooth
Can relieve toothache
Less expensive than replacing a lost tooth
Root canal therapy usually requires several appointments and will depend on the type of tooth being treated. To protect the tooth between appointments it will be covered and temporarily restored. Though root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful, the procedure should be no more uncomfortable than having a filling.
An x-ray will be taken to check the root canals and see if there are any other signs of infection in the surrounding bone.
A rubber sheet is placed around the tooth to keep it dry. The infected pulp is removed under a local anaesthetic (if necessary) and root canals are flushed with an anti-bacterial solution.
The canals are shaped with tiny instruments and washed again to remove any debris.
The freshly cleaned root canals are then filled with a rubber compound to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from entering.
The filled root canal is sealed with a permanent filling or may need a crown to help restore tooth shape and functionality.
If looked after properly, with regular brushing and flossing, your root canal treated tooth should stay trouble free and provide a long lasting repair. Even though the pulp has been removed, the tooth will stay intact because the canals have been sealed to prevent re-infection. Regular check-ups are also recommended so any problems can be detected early.
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is also better known as Root Canal Treatment. Root Canal Treatment becomes necessary when the nerve of a tooth becomes irreversibly damaged, and therefore has to be surgically removed.
Periodontal disease affects the gums, bone and other supporting tissues of the teeth. Most individuals suffer gum inflammation from time to time, around 10% of the population appear to suffer from the more severe forms.