Root Canal Treatment (Endodontics)
Endodontic treatment (or root canal therapy) is performed to save the natural tooth. In spite of the many advanced restorations available, most dentists agree that there is no substitute for healthy, natural teeth.
A root canal is the space within the root of a tooth. It is part of a naturally occurring space within a tooth that consists of the pulp chamber (within the coronal part of the tooth), the main canal(s), and more intricate anatomical branches that may connect the root canals to each other or to the surface of the root.
Signs and symptoms of endodontic problems:
- Inflammation and tenderness in the gums
- Teeth that are sensitive to hot and cold foods
- Tenderness when chewing and biting
- Tooth discoloration
- Unexplained pain in the nearby lymph nodes
Reasons for endodontic treatment
Bacterial infections - Oral bacteria is the most common cause of endodontic problems. Bacteria invade the tooth pulp through tiny fissures in the teeth caused by tooth decay or injury. The resulting inflammation and bacterial infection jeopardize the affected tooth and may cause an abscess to form.
Fractures and chips - When a large part of the surface or crown of the tooth has become completely detached, root canal therapy may be required. The removal of the crown portion leaves the pulp exposed, which can be debilitating painful and problematic.
Injuries - Injuries to the teeth can be caused by a direct or indirect blow to the mouth area. Some injuries cause a tooth to become luxated, or dislodged from its socket. Root canal therapy is often needed after the dentist has successfully stabilized the injured tooth.
Removals - If a tooth has been knocked clean out of the socket, it is important to rinse it and place it back into the socket as quickly as possible. If this is impossible, place the tooth in special dental solution (available at pharmacies) or in milk. These steps will keep the inner mechanisms of the tooth moist and alive while emergency dental treatment is sought. The tooth will be affixed in its socket using a special splint, and the dentist will then perform root canal therapy to save the tooth.
In the situation that a tooth is considered so threatened (because of decay, cracking, etc.) that future infection is considered likely or inevitable, a pulpectomy, removal of the pulp tissue, is advisable to prevent such infection. Usually, some inflammation or infection is already present within or below the tooth. To cure the infection and save the tooth, the dentist drills into the pulp chamber and removes the infected pulp by scraping it out of the root canals. Once this is done, the dentist fills the cavity with an inert material and seals up the opening. This procedure is known as root canal therapy. With the removal of nerves and blood supply from the tooth, it is best that the tooth is fitted with a crown; this increases the prognosis of the tooth by six times.
In the last ten to twenty years, there have been great innovations in the art and science of root canal therapy. Dentists now must be educated on the current concepts to optimally perform a root canal. Root canal therapy has become more automated and can be performed faster thanks to advances in automated mechanical instrumentation of teeth and more advanced root canal filling methods.
In our office, a root canal can be done in a one-hour appointment with our new technology.
Contact us today for a free consultation!