What are Root Canals?
Root canals are often the best way of saving an infected tooth. Saving your own tooth is important. It works better than an artificial tooth for chewing and losing a tooth can lead to other problems in the mouth. Replacing a lost tooth with an artificial one (implant), often needs more complex dental procedures.
Root Canals are the treatment of a tooth involving the pulp or nerve space. Root canal treatment is used to repair the damaged inside of a tooth. It is also called endodontic treatment.
A Root Canal procedure is performed in multiple stages:
The first stage involves an initial clean using small files to perform a clean of root canal to remove nerves. Special medication is used to remove the bacteria found in the tooth. The procedure can take 20-45minutes depending on the complexity of the tooth.
The second stage of a root canal involves a detailed clean of root canal all the way to the root tip, to ensure bacteria is controlled and tooth remains pain free. Special medication is used to remove the remaining bacteria found in the tooth. The procedure can take 30-60 minutes depending on the complexity of the tooth.
The final stage of a root canal involves the placement of a sterile filling in the roots, once we are certain the tooth is clean and healthy and completely pain free. The root canals are filled with special gutta percha material. It can take 30-60 minutes depending on the complexity of the tooth
- Decay: If the bacteria of a cavity have reached the tooth centre, where the pulp of the tooth lies, then a filling won’t resolve the discomfort and a root canal is needed.
- Deep restorations: Unfortunately the side effect of having large, deep fillings placed in teeth is that it can result in the need for a root canal, due to the pressure the filling places on the pulp of the tooth.
- Trauma: Sometimes the pulp in the tooth dies years after the trauma occurred.
- Dead tooth: Some people have pulp damage without any symptoms (pain free). The dentist may discover the dead tooth via x-rays that show bone destruction, or by finding an abscess in the gums. Attention need to be paid to remove the infection in these circumstances. Long term dental infections have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
- Sensitivity to hot and cold: Severe pain which lasts for some time after the hot or cold has been removed is a sign that the pulp has irreversible damage. However sensitivity to hot and cold may also be due to decay, gum recession or crack.
- Pain on chewing or pressure pain: Pressure pain that shoots down the root of a tooth and continues to throb indicates the need for root canal therapy.
Abscess: a swelling or pus coming out of the gums adjacent to the tooth that is infected.