Root Canal

What is root canal treatment?

Primarily it is a means of saving the tooth and involves removing inflamed or damaged tissue from inside the tooth. The inner soft tissue (pulp) in a tooth is exposed to bacteria when a cavity, crack or decay destroys the protective layers around it, resulting in inflammation, infection and eventually necrosis (pulp death). Root canal treatment involves removing the damaged pulp, sterilizing the canal and sealing it with a latex material.

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How the procedure works:
An x-ray is administered to determine the length of the canal
The tooth is numbed
An opening is made in the crown of the tooth
The pulp is removed from the root canal
The canal is cleaned, enlarged and shaped with a tiny file
The pulp chamber and root canal is filled
The tooth is filled
Root Canal removes everything that keeps a tooth alive, which will lead to the tooth becoming brittle. Therefore tooth restoration should be attended to as quickly as possible and usually involves having a crown placed on the tooth.

1. Pulp becomes damaged and infection spreads to the bond and tissues. An abscess forms at the root.
2. After the affected tooth has been numbed, the pulp is removed and the chamber and roots are cleaned out, enlarged and shaped.
3. Once the tooth is clean and free of infection, the pulp chamber and root canals are filled with a rubberlike material and the tooth is filled.

Will it be painful?

Root Canal treatment has always been associated with pain, but the majority of patients who undergo the treatment find it to be slightly discomforting. The discomfort is caused from the infection but the treatment process is generally not much more involved than having a filling placed.

The tooth may feel a little tender for a few days after the treatment, but this can be minimized by using an over-the-counter analgesic.

Is it safe to chew on the tooth afterwards?

Minimize chewing on the tooth until it has been completely restored. The tooth is fragile at this stage and may break or crack.

Is Root Canal for everyone?

Yes! Everyone who wants to save her or his teeth can benefit and expect to maintain the tooth in its healthiest state, once the root canal is completed. There is no limitation for age or state of health. Endodontic (root canal) therapy is an elective procedure for those people who want to invest their time and money in keeping their teeth.

An abscess that has formed around the apex of a lower central incisor can be favourably treated by retreating the tooth and/or an endodontic surgical procedure – a decision that should be made by your dentist.

The single limitation for root canal therapy for any given tooth is the restorability of the tooth. Simply, restorability means confirming there is enough tooth structure to save and ultimately restore the tooth to function. Once treated through root canal therapy and appropriately restored, a tooth (with a previous abscess or infected dental pulp) can function normally for a very long time. Your general dentist can best determine the final permanent restoration for the root canal treated tooth. If a root canal ever does fail, consider that there are still treatment options with very good success rates that can save your tooth, root canal re-treatment and endodontic surgery.

A tooth that has had a root canal can develop an abscess and/or infection. It can be due to the breakdown of the root canal material at the apex of the tooth. By retreating a tooth that has had a root canal a better seal can potentially be placed. Once the seal is re-established, the abscess or infection may degenerate.