Root canal treatment or endodontic therapy refers to the treatment of the inside of the tooth.
The tooth consists of different layers. There is the superficial white enamel layer, which is visible. Underneath is a layer called dentin and under this is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains the blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. The pulp tissue inside the tooth can become inflamed or infected causing pain or an abscess formation. This may be caused by a variety of reasons including a deep decay, a crack or chip in the tooth or even from repeated dental procedures on a tooth.
A root canal treatment involves of the removal of the pulp tissue and the placement of a filling material to replace it.
An Endodontist has undertaken further post-graduate training and therefore has a higher skill-set when it comes to diagnosing and treating endodontic patients. A general dental clinician may not be able to perform the more complex and challenging cases which an Endodontist can.
Sometimes there are no symptoms!
The infected or inflamed pulp is carefully removed and the canals inside the tooth are shaped and then filled to seal the space.
The dentist might recommend to place a crown or another restoration to protect the tooth and to restore the tooth to full function.
One of the main aims of a root canal treatment is to relieve pain. Local anaesthetic is used to make the procedure comfortable, however for the first few days after treatment there may be some sensitivity or discomfort. This can be relieved by medications prescribed by the Endodontist.
If the discomfort is not relieved within a short period of time, visit your Endodontist,
1. The tooth and x-ray are examined and the local anaesthesia is administered. A protective rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth and keep the area clean.
2. An opening is made into the tooth and small instruments are used to remove the pulp and shape the canals.
3. After the canals have been prepared a filling material is placed into the canals, sealing them. A temporary filling is then placed to cover the opening.
4. Your dentist will then place a crown or other restoration to protect and restore the tooth to full function.
Whilst the temporary restoration is in place, you should not chew or bite on the treated tooth. This is because the unrestored tooth is more likely to fracture.
Good oral hygiene is always important, with regular brushing flossing and dental checkups.