Root canal treatment is needed when the soft tissue under the root of the tooth becomes inflamed or infected causing high sensitivity and pain when eating and drinking or when there is air contact with the affected tooth. This soft tissue, called the “pulp”, contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and it helps the root of the tooth grow during tooth development stage. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes such as deep decay, faulty crowns, and a crack/chip in the tooth or in some cases due to possible trauma to tooth causing pulp damage even if no visible damage can be seen on the tooth. Without proper treatment, a root canal infection can cause abscess and result in inevitable extraction of the tooth, whereas a root canal treated tooth can often last as long as all the other natural teeth.
How is a root canal treatment done?
A typical root canal treatment might require 1 or 2 visits to your dentist’s office to complete. It’s a very painless treatment as the treated tooth is usually dead, and your dentist will always use a local anesthesia so you don’t feel the procedure.
Before the treatment, your dentist will take X-rays to see the tooth and the surrounding bone. After numbing the area around the tooth, your dentist will drill an opening in the top of your tooth. Then the tooth’s damaged nerve will be removed from the inside of the tooth and its root canals. Each of the canals will be cleaned thoroughly making them completely sterile. Then your dentist will fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them. Sometimes a metal or plastic post may be placed in the root canal to make sure the filling materials remain in place. As a final step, your dentist will place a temporary filling on the tooth to protect it until a permanent restoration like a filling or a crown can be placed.
If you had an infection that was spread, you might need to take antibiotics after the root canal treatment.
A root canal treated tooth can last a lifetime with proper dental care and good oral hygiene habits.
Advantages Of A Root Canal Treatment
- Safe and effective procedure to eliminate bacteria from the infected root canal
- Prevents re-infection
- Saves the natural tooth
- The infected pulp is removed at the first appointment.
- If any, all abscesses are removed at this point.
- The root canal is cleaned and shaped for the filling.
- A temporary filling is inserted.
- The tooth is checked at the second appointment.
- If there are no issues, the tooth is permanently filled.
- A new crown can also be cemented onto the rebuilt tooth.