Root Canal Treatment (also known as endodontic treatment) is all about saving your tooth that has become infected and/or has dead pulp.
Tooth pulp occurs inside each tooth, providing the tooth with nerves and blood supply. If your tooth becomes irritated, inflamed, or infected the pulp tissue nerve may need to be removed to save the tooth and protect it from future infections.
The root canal process includes removing the infected pulp, cleaning out and disinfecting the canal and sealing it with an impervious filling. It is important to restore the tooth properly, to make sure the bacteria can’t re-enter the canal.
Root canal treatment should start as soon as possible after your dentist identifies the problem. If left untreated, the surrounding teeth, bones and tissues can begin to deteriorate, leading to severe pain and damage.
Root canal treatment is carried out by a dentist, however in more complex situations you can be referred to an endodontist specialist.
What causes this inflammation or infection?
- A cavity, filling, or crown breakdown
- Any teeth that have suffered chips or cracks
- Accidents, traumas, or injuries
- Gum disease
- Extensive wear-and-tear
- Swelling, extreme sensitivity or pain in the gums around a tooth
- Significant sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Tooth discolouration
Root canal treatment will usually take two to three visits so that the inside of the infected tooth can be properly cleaned, shaped, and filled once the nerve is removed. A filling is fitted on top of your natural tooth to make it completely functional and comfortable.
A crown is also recommended for those who have undergone root canal treatment, as the tooth starts to weaken and become brittle without its nerve. A crown protects your teeth and makes them easier to use. This is usually recommended between three and six months after your root canal treatment, just to be sure that the root has settled first.