Endodontics, or root canal therapy, is a recommended treatment for infected pulp or nerves in your teeth. Infections of this type can result in an abscess and discolouration of the affected tooth, along with other complications.
Below are some signs that you may require a root canal procedure:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot food and drink
- Pain when chewing
- Swollen gum tissue and even facial swelling
During the consultation, your dentist will explain the steps involved with root canal therapy and give you a written treatment plan to review. You are encouraged to ask any questions and express concerns. Although root canal treatments have traditionally been synonymous with pain and discomfort, modern dental technologies allow your dentist to clean away infected pulp in an efficient and pain-free manner. Many patients say afterward that the experience was similar to having a filling replaced.
Bacteria can infiltrate teeth that are decayed, damaged, or have a loose or leaking filling. Once the soft pulp tissue is invaded, infection will set in and eventually destroy it. Because pulp is an integral part of the root canal system, bacteria can also infect the surrounding tissue through small blood vessels at the root of your tooth.
If you develop an abscess it should be treated as soon as possible, as a long-term infection of the root canal system can hinder the effectiveness of a future treatment.
Your dentist will clean and irrigate your tooth with an anti-bacterial solution. If possible, a rubber dam is also used during the treatment to shield nearby teeth from any bacteria-filled saliva.
Root Canal Treatment
Most root canal treatments require two appointments, but this can vary according to the condition and structure of the tooth itself.
After administering a local anaesthetic, your dentist will remove the top portion of your tooth to expose the infected pulp, which he or she then cleans out with special tools called files. If the treatment requires multiple visits, medication may be applied to the cleaned-out canal to prevent further infection and the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling.
At the next visit, the medication and temporary filling are removed and replaced by the permanent root canal filling. Then the tooth is sealed to prevent re-infection. Your dentist may also recommend placing a crown over it to prevent further weakening.
Root Canal Treatment (Multi)
Root canal work on back teeth poses additional challenges because more roots need to be exposed and excavated to remove the entire nerve. Once this is accomplished, your dentist will fill the cavity with gutta percha and fill the tooth itself.
Once your root canal therapy concludes, you can prevent future complications by maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating sugary foods from your diet, and giving up cigarettes if you smoke. Regular dental examinations are also important so that potential problems can be detected early and more complex root canal procedures avoided.