This is your guide to everything you should know before getting a root canal as well as what to expect during the procedure.
- Root canal treatment is a dental procedure to replace a tooth’s damaged or infected pulp with a filling.
- The vast majority of people who undergo root canal treatment can expect a functional tooth after the treatment.
- The treated tooth should last as long as your other teeth, provided the tooth is kept clean and you maintain excellent oral hygiene.
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that replaces a tooth’s damaged or infected pulp with a filling. The pulp consists of specialised dental cells, blood vessels, tissue fibres and some nerve fibres located in the hollow space in the central part of the tooth. The procedure is also known as endodontic treatment.
Success rates for endodontic treatment are generally good. About 90 to 95 per cent of patients who undergo root canal treatment can expect a functional tooth after the treatment. The treated tooth should last a very long time, provided that you maintain good oral hygiene and generally look after your teeth. Of course, no therapy or replacement will last as well as a healthy tooth.
Tooth pulp damage or disease
A diseased tooth pulp may cause inflammation or infection. The symptoms of a damaged or diseased tooth pulp may include:
- Unprovoked or spontaneous pain.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods.
- Pain when biting or chewing.
- Loosening of the tooth
- Swelling of the gum near the affected tooth.
- oozing of pus surrounding the affected tooth.
- facial swelling.
Sometimes, tooth pulp may become damaged or diseased without presenting any symptoms.
In these cases, the problem is usually diagnosed by special tests or x-rays during a dental check-up or treatment for other dental concerns.
- Deep-seated and untreated dental decay.
- Decay beneath a deep filling.
- Trauma that damages a tooth.
- Habitual tooth grinding (bruxism).
- Long-standing cracks in the teeth.
- Advanced gum disease.
The dentist will listen to your symptoms, examine your teeth and perform other special investigations.You may need one or more visits to complete the endodontic treatment, depending on the complexity of the case.
Root canal treatment has four main aims:
- Removing active decay and infection:
Any old or leaky fillings, tooth decay, infected nerve tissue, pus and debris are removed.
- Shaping the canals:
In order to be filled well, the canals within the tooth root need to be shaped into smooth, hollow tunnels that are free of irregularities where residual bacteria may have been harboured. This shaping process involves small instruments, special disinfectants and medication. It may take a few weeks to months for these solutions to take maximum effect against stubborn bacteria within the tooth, and this step may have to be repeated several times.
- Filling the canals:
To prevent bacteria from re-infecting the empty canals in your tooth, they are permanently sealed with a long-lasting barrier material.
- Making the tooth functional again:
To make sure no bacteria from the oral environment can leak back into the tooth, a large, well-sealed restoration is put on the tooth (such as a crown). Teeth that require root canal treatment have sometimes lost considerable tooth structure due to previous decay or cracks, and may require further protection in the form of porcelain, gold alloy crowns or other similar materials.
After root canal treatment
A normal tooth with a healthy pulp is yellowish-white in colour. A pulp-free tooth may eventually turn grey. The dentist can advise you on appropriate aesthetic (cosmetic dentistry) procedures.
All dentists can perform root canal treatments
All dentists are trained to carry out root canal treatments. Some dentists will refer complicated and emergency cases to an endodontist. (Your dentist will discuss this with you.) Endodontists are dentists who are specialists in root canal treatment. If you would like a specialist opinion, give us a call US: (760) 298 3039