Root canal treatment (endodontics)
When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a successful root canal treatment lets you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. Keeping the tooth helps prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth prevents us from having to replace it with an artificial tooth. Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop.
When bacteria (germs) enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it must be removed. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling. Your dentist may notice the infection from a dental X-ray or from other changes with the tooth. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems.
Dr Dimitrovski may carry out root canal treatment or refer you to an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who has completed a university post-graduate specialty program in endodontics. Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry concerned with the treatment of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth.
If your child’s primary (baby) tooth is damaged, your dentist may refer you to a pediatric dentist for this procedure. A pediatric dentist has at least 2 years of extra university training in treating children.
How is a root canal treatment done?
- Dr Dimitovski gives you a local anesthetic (freezing).
- To protect your tooth from bacteria in your saliva during the treatment, a rubber dam is placed around the tooth being treated.
- An opening is made in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
- Using very fine dental instruments, the pulp is removed by cleaning and enlarging the root canal system.
- After the canal has been cleaned, it is filled and sealed.
- The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling.
Tooth restoration after root canal treatment
After a root canal treatment, your tooth must be restored (fixed) to look, feel and work as much like a natural tooth as possible. This is best achieved with crowns.
What else should I know?
Root canal treatment may be done in 1 or 2 appointments. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. Bad pain or swelling are NOT common. If this happens, call your dentist or endodontist.
You can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal treatment. Root canal treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage. With proper care and regular dental visits, the tooth could last as long as your other teeth. Most of the time, a tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment can be saved. However, there are cases where everything possible has been done to save a tooth and still the tooth must be extracted (pulled).
Root canal treatment
Most root canal treatments are successful. But in some rare cases, a second root canal treatment is needed. This is called retreatment. When retreating a tooth, the root canal filling material is removed, and the canal is re-cleaned, reshaped and refilled.
Root canal surgery
Sometimes, root canal surgery is needed when a regular root canal treatment cannot be done or when it has not worked.
Surgery is done to:
- Check the end of the root for fractures (cracks).
- Remove parts of the root that could not be cleaned during regular root canal treatment.
- Clear up an infection that did not heal after regular treatment.