Today, Root canal therapy can save an infected tooth that previously you would probably have lost.
A root canal therapy is needed to treat the tissue inside the tooth when it has died or become infected, otherwise tooth loss occurs.
This tissue is called the pulp, often referred to as the nerve. The pulp can become irreversibly damaged due to infection, decay, cracks or trauma.
If the infection is left untreated it can work its way into the jawbone forming an abscess. An abscess is a serious and potentially life threatening infection if left to spread.
Cases needing root canal treatment
- Severe toothache
- Pain on chewing or pressure
- Prolonged pain to hot or cold
- Decay near or into the nerve
- Chipped or broken tooth
- Extreme wear
- Repeated dental work on the tooth
Root Canal Procedure
Depending on the amount of infection present the root canal can take one to two or more appointments.
The tooth is “numbed” with anaesthetic before the procedure to make the procedure comfortable. An important dental device called a rubber dam is placed over the tooth, isolating the tooth and preventing contamination.
A small access is made in the tooth using a dental handpiece. The infected and dead tissue is gently removed and the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. An antimicrobial dressing is placed within the tooth.
Once the root canals are sterile they are sealed.
Soreness of Root Canal Therapy
One of the greatest concerns with root canal is how sore will it be during and afterwards? Root canal has a terrible reputation that in today’s dentistry it doesn’t deserve.
During the treatment you will be “numb” and more anaesthetic can be given if you feel anything. Most root canal therapies Patients experience no or little pain.
Afterwards most people have no pain but a mild analgesic from over the counter can be taken to help relieve any discomfort. Rarely people will experience severe pain and in these cases we can give a prescription for a stronger medicine.
Restoration after Root Canal Therapy
The root canal treats and seals the inside of the tooth. The outside of the tooth will need to be restored to normal function and sometimes a filling can be used. However, a Crown is usually needed to rebuild these teeth as they are badly broken down and brittle. A crown protects the tooth and helps make the root canal treated tooth stronger.
Success of Root Canal Therapy
Not every root canal therapy is successful in the first instance. We can refer you to a Specialist Endodontist (Root Canal Specialist), Endodontic treatment has a high rate of success, but with any medical / dental procedure there is always a risk it may not work. The success of root canal therapy can only be determined from x-rays. If the x-rays disclose a problem, the tooth can usually be re-treated, generally by a root canal specialist.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualfied health practitioner.