Having a root canal procedure can save a dead or dying tooth that would otherwise be lost. During a root canal treatment, the pulp of your affected tooth is removed and the space is cleaned out before being filled and sealed off by your dentist. At Top Health Dental we strive to offer all of our patients a comfortable root canal procedure.
How Root Canal Therapy Can Help
Dental pulp performs a very important job in keeping a tooth alive because it holds all of the nerves, tissue fibres and vessels. When the pulp is damaged or infected it needs to be treated or the tooth will die and be lost.
What Damages The Tooth Pulp?
Damage or decay in the tooth pulp is commonly caused by either:
- A deep cavity
- A crack in the tooth
- A faulty crown or filling
- Trauma or injury (usually a hard knock to the tooth)
When the tooth pulp becomes infected an infection can develop at the root tip and an abscess may form. This can destroy the bone around your tooth and cause severe pain.
The good news is that root canal treatments are usually very successful, and in 90 to 95% of cases, patients can look forward to a fully restored tooth with good dental care.
What Happens During A Root Canal Procedure?
Your root canal treatment will probably be split up over a few sessions in your dentist’s chair.
The number of sessions required will depend on your personal case and should be discussed directly with your dentist, prior to starting treatment.
Firstly your dentist will take an x-ray to establish the shape of your root canals, and to see the scope of the infection.
The area to be treated will be injected with local anaesthetic so that it is numb.
Removing the infection
In order to clean your tooth on the inside your dentist will make a hole in the crown of your molar (or back of a front tooth) and then remove any diseased pulp.
Shaping the canals
Smooth canals do not harbour bacteria, so your dentist will get to work to reshape your tooth canals so they are smooth. It can take weeks or months to finalise this step and in some cases it may be necessary to return for this step.
Refilling the canals
Once your dentist is satisfied that your canals are hollow and smooth, they need to be filled up with a sealant. This will ensure bacteria do not return.
Restoring your tooth
To ensure your tooth is properly sealed, your dentist will finish the process by placing a crown over your treated tooth.
How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal Procedure?
It is possible to need a root canal but not present with any symptoms but some patients report
- Prolonged tooth sensitivity (sensitivity remains after the source of heat or coldness has been removed)
- Tender or swollen gums
- Discolouration of the tooth
- A hole in your tooth
- Pimples on your gums
- Visible cracks that enter the tooth canal
Visiting your dentist every six months can help to identify the early warning signs of a dead tooth or pulp infection.
How Long Will Your Root Canal Last?
With good dental care it is possible for your treated tooth to last for the rest of your lifetime. Because the treated tooth does not have pulp to keep it alive, your treated tooth may be more susceptible to fracture. This is something worth discussing with your dentist prior to treatment.
Taking new x-rays will show you if you continue to experience bone loss, or if your jaw is regenerating bone when you compare them to the x-rays taken prior to treatment.
Complications To Consider
Avoiding treatment for infected tooth pulp can result in long term complications. Infected tooth pulp can result in
- A wider or deeper infection that causes an abscess
- Bone loss at the site that spreads to surrounding bone tissue
- Tooth loss
What Are The Benefits Of Root Canal Treatments
When compared with extracting your tooth, a root canal offers benefits such as
- The ability to chew with comfort
- Bite force is maintained
- An unchanged appearance to your smile
The first step to the root canal procedure is to have an assessment. From the assessment, your dental practitioner can create a treatment plan and cost estimate. Delaying treatment can make your infection worse, while early intervention may give you a better chance of responding positively to the procedure. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 8776 3232.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.