Root Canal

Root canal is a dreaded word for a lot of people. So what exactly is it? It’s a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp) and cleaning and disinfecting it, then filling and sealing it.

Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp is the soft area within the root canal which is the vital portion of the tooth that extends into the root and contains blood-vessels, nerve endings and tissues. The tooth’s nerve is not vitally important, once the tooth has erupted and is serving functionally and esthetically. It only provides sensory function – sensation to hot or cold. When the pulp is damaged due to decay, trauma or fracture, the pulp starts breaking down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber causing an infection or abscess, which leads to one or many of the following symptoms :

dull, continuous aching pain

pain increasing on lying down, making it difficult to sleep at night

sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers

discomfort on chewing or biting

If left untreated it can lead to the any of following events, and eventually loss of the tooth as a whole.

swelling extra-orally extending to the face, neck or head

sinus tract – opening next to the tooth where the contents are being drained into the gums or skin on the side of the tooth from the roots

bone loss around the tip of the root

Be aware! Not all teeth that are in need of Root Canal therapy will cause pain. It is possible to be pain-free and still need a Root Canal. In such cases it will be detected with the use of a radiograph under the guidance of your dentist.

What happens at the 1st appointment ?

The endodontist will examine the tooth and the X-ray if needed, and administer local anesthesia. Once the tooth is numbed, a cavity is made in the crown of the tooth to access the canal openings, then the canals are cleaned and shaped using small instruments. once the canals are adequately cleaned and shaped, they will then be filled with a polyester synthetic root canal filling and sealer. A temporary or permanent filling is then placed to close the opening.

How many sittings will root canal treatment take ?

Root canal treatment along with the crown can be completed in 2 or 3 sittings. Only in cases of severe pain, swelling or long lasting infection the number of appointments will increase.

What should one expect after root canal ?

In most cases the pain will dramatically decrease post root canal treatment, but some discomfort on chewing can be expected for a few days which will subside eventually with the help of analgesics which will aid in the healing process.

Why is a crown required after root canal treatment ?

The integrity of the tooth is often lost or damaged after root canal treatment as the tooth tends to become weak, brittle or prone to fracture. Placing a crown will strengthen the tooth and enable it to withstand the chewing forces, also it completes the sealing of the tooth, preventing the breaking of the restorative material and re-infection.

Benefits of root canal treatment

The single most important benefit is that your natural tooth is fixed. Extraction may lead to other dental problems such as drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ discomfort, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment in order to restore the missing tooth.

No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is a good as your natural tooth!

Do you want to have the smile of your dreams?