WHAT IS A ROOT CANAL FOR?
Inside a tooth is a fine channel called the root canal. This contains the dental pulp which consists of nerves and blood vessels. If the dental pulp becomes diseased or dies a toothache or an abscess may occur. In the past these problem teeth were extracted, but now root canal treatment can save the tooth. Why Does Pulp Become Diseased? There can be a number of reasons for pulp becoming diseased: Decay Deep cavities Trauma Tooth fracture Extreme wear Crack or chip in a tooth Sometimes there is no apparent cause Symptoms may include pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, tooth discoloration, and swelling or soreness in the gums surrounding the tooth.
Why have root canal treatment?
The aim of root canal treatment (also called endodontic treatment) is to save a tooth that has been badly damaged due to decay, disease or injury. Many millions of teeth each year are saved from extraction by having root canal treatment. Your own teeth are better than artificial teeth because: They are more efficient for biting and chewing They are stronger It is better to have a tooth in place because teeth can move out of their normal position and tilt into the space left by a missing tooth. This can make chewing and biting difficult, and can lead to further decay and gum disease around the tilted teeth.
What happens during root canal treatment?
To improve the chances of success, root canal treatment should start as soon as possible after a problem is identified. A hole is drilled through the top of the tooth to access the root canal. The infected pulp is removed and the space is disinfected. The canal is then shaped with fine dental files, washed with a sterilizing solution and sealed with a final filling. This treatment can take several visits to complete or in a single visit root canal treatment depending on the infection level. If there is an infection present, antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
How successful is root canal treatment?
As with all dental and medical treatments, root canal treatment has risks. Because the root canals are very fine and curved in some teeth it may be difficult to clean the canals completely, and your clinician cannot guarantee that it will be successful. Success may depend on a patient’s general health, age, capacity to heal, and many other factors. The final restoration of the tooth is very important. If the tooth is not properly restored, bacteria can re-enter the tooth and cause another infection.