ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?
During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
Root canal treatment is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (called the ‘pulp') is infected through decay or injury. You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died.
Does root canal treatment hurt?
No. Usually, a local anaesthetic is used and it should feel no different to having an ordinary filling done. There may be some tenderness afterwards but this should gradually get less over time.
How is a Root Canal Done?
Root canal treatment consists of several steps that take place over several office visits, depending on the situation. These steps are:
» First, an opening is made through the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or pre-molar.
» After the diseased pulp is removed the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped in preparation for being filled.
» If more than one visit is needed, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits.
» The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal permanently filled. A material called gutta-percha is inserted into each of the canals and is often sealed into place with cement.
» In the final step, a crown is usually placed over the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. If the tooth is very broken down, a post may be required to build it up prior to placing a crown.
How many appointments does root canal therapy take?
The number of visits it takes to complete your root canal treatment may be as few as one. With some cases, however, two or more scheduled appointments may be required.
How much time will the root canal appointment take?
Any single root canal appointment will usually last somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes and, in some cases, possibly as long as 90 minutes.
If you, as a patient, have a preference or a need for short appointments (with the understanding that you will need to schedule more of them) you should let your dentist know.
How Long Will the Root Canal Treated Tooth Last?
Your treated and restored tooth/teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. Because tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth, good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are necessary to prevent further problems. To determine the success or failure of root canal treatment, the most relied-upon method is to compare new X-rays with those taken prior to treatment. This comparison will show whether bone continues to be lost or is being regenerated.
How Successful Are Root Canals?
Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last a lifetime.
What if it happens again?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back, the treatment can sometimes be repeated.
What if I don't have the treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can't heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth. It is best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
What are the alternatives to a Root Canal?
Saving your natural teeth is the very best option, if possible. Your natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods necessary to maintain proper nutrition. The root canal procedure is the treatment of choice.
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting.