Getting to the root of root canal treatments
No one wants to hear the words, “You need a root canal”, but we can assure you, there’s no need to fear! Most of the time, a root canal treatment is a relatively simple procedure with little or no discomfort.
Best of all, it can save your tooth and is a far better option than loosing the tooth.
Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected through tooth decay or damaged by an injury to your mouth. This infection may spread through the root canal system, which could eventually lead to an abscess, causing a great deal of discomfort. If root canal treatment is not carried out, the tooth may need to be taken out.
If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, it could be sign of tooth infection:
-Sore and swollen gums
-Pain when eating or drinking
Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
Many years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given dentists a safe way of saving teeth.
When the pulp is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let germs enter the pulp. Germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip, in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth.
Root canal treatment is recommended for cases of :
- Severe tooth decay : large cavities have done too much damage to fix with a filling or crown.
- Severely damaged ,broken or infected tooth : where the infection it is too invasive to control.
It is a treatment that is used to save a tooth from extraction -an absolute last-resort option at our practice.
- They can be completed relatively quickly. A root canal treatment can typically be completed in two appointments, depending on the extent of the infection and the complexity and intricacy of the canal system that requires cleaning.
- They are long-lasting. Most root canal treatments last a person for many, many years, and in some cases, an entire lifetime.
- They save teeth. Often the only alternative to root canal treatment is extraction which can bring with it other challenges and expenses.
The health risks of having an infected tooth in your mouth for longer than necessary are serious.
- Spread of infection
- Severe swelling
- Bone loss
- Darkening of the tooth
- Gum soreness
- Drainage problems
- Tooth Extraction
It is therefore recommended that you seek help as soon as you experience the problem.
After a thorough X-ray session and evaluation, we can begin the root canal procedure that often involves one to three visits. First, after receiving local anaesthetic, an opening is made through the crown of the tooth.
- An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
- The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped to a form that can be filled.
- Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal to help get rid of germs and prevent infection.
- A temporary filling will be placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. Your dentist may leave the tooth open for a few days to drain. You might also be given medicine to help control infection that may have spread beyond the tooth.
- The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal are cleaned and filled.
- In the final step, a porcelain crown, inlay or filling is usually placed over the tooth.
- The crown of the tooth is then restored.
Most teeth can be treated. Occasionally, a tooth can’t be saved because the root canals are not accessible, the root is severely fractured, the tooth doesn’t have adequate bone support, or the tooth cannot be restored.
During treatment, the dentist uses local anaesthesia to ensure patients comfort. Most of the time, people will say that a root canal doesn’t hurt any more than getting a simple filling, and they should be able to return to their normal activities immediately.
Since a person needing a root canal is often already in extreme pain, the root canal treatment actually provides relief from pain and recovery is very minimal.
When the anaesthesia wears off, it may feel a little sore when chewing with that tooth – especially if the tooth was abscessed prior to treatment. Even though the nerve is no longer inside the tooth, there are still nerve endings around the outside of the tooth that may be inflamed as a result of an abscess or the root canal treatment itself.
It is best to try chewing on the opposite side of the mouth for a few days following the root canal to give the bone and tissues around the tooth time to calm down. Pain or discomfort can be controlled by taking some over-the-counter pain medication when appropriate. Our dentist will advise you on that.
Your restored tooth could last a long time, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root of a treated tooth are nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.
Root canal problems can return, and if the tooth is in a weakened state then it may need to be protected by a porcelain crown. If a large amount of the tooth has been lost to decay or physical damage a supportive post may need to be inserted into the root canal to help support the crown and keep it in place. Your dentist will advise what is suitable for your particular case.
The cost of root canals varies depending on the tooth. Molars have more canals (usually 3 or 4) that need to be filled, so they are more expensive and time-consuming to treat than front or premolar root canal treatments. A front tooth only has 1 canals and a premolar tooth usually has 2 canals.
In our surgery, we use a high tecnhonology so-called Apex Locator Device that is an electronic device used in endodontics to determine the position of the apical foramen and therefore the length of the root canal space.