“Root Canal” – two words that no one wants to hear. They cause fear and concern and the phrases “big dollars” and “pain” pop into the head. Knowledge and understanding go a long way to eliminating these fears as this procedure may become a solid option for anyone wanting to keep their own teeth. Root Canal treatment gives someone that option and also can prevent other teeth from moving out of line and thereby causing gum disease and jaw pain.
Root Canal treatment is also known as Endontics which is the removal of infected, injured or dead pulp from the tooth.Pulp is made up of nerves and blood vessels that help a tooth grow and develop and is found inside the space of the hard layers (enamel, dentin and cementum) of each tooth. This space is the tooth root system.
A fully grown tooth can survive without pulp so root canals will not adversely affect your teeth. The dentist can detect any changes in your gums, the colour of your teeth or anything that is seen on an x-ray and can tell you if Endontics is needed. The dentist may do the procedure in house or refer you to a specialist who is an endodontist.
Root Canal treatment is taught to all dentists in dental school but sometimes re-treatment and surgery are required. This is when you may be referred to the endodontist. The pulp in teeth can be damaged by cracks in a tooth, deep cavities or accidents which will allow in germs that then will infect the pulp and the infected pulp will lead to a root canal which removes it.
A Root Canal may be done in one treatment or it may take two or more treatments. The number of treatments depends on the damage done and if the tooth is infected, the infection has to be drained first before the treatment can be started.Once the procedure is completed, you may have tenderness for a couple of weeks but pain and swelling are not common.Call your dentist or endodontist is you have pain that is severe.
You may be given freezing (anesthetic)during a Root Canal to ensure that you are relaxed and do not feel any pain.The dentist is very aware of your nervousness and fear with the treatment and will do all he can to make you feel relaxed during this process.
Your tooth will need to be fixed, after the Root Canal, so it looks, feels and works like a natural tooth does. This may involve a filling or crown depending on the strength of the tooth that is left.A back tooth may need a crown because of the force that chewing puts on it.
Your tooth that has just had a Root Canal may also need a post and if it is dark, it can be bleached, crowned or covered with a veneer. After the treatment, you can still get gum disease so you must continue to use all of the required preventative care procedures to ensure healthy teeth.
Root Canals are usually a success the first time but on occasion, a second root canal may be needed. This is called re-treatment and the filling material it taken out and the space recleaned, reshaped and refilled.
Root Canal surgery may be needed to check for cracks or fractures in the root. This is when any parts of the root that cannot be cleaned during regular Root Canal treatment are removed. Surgery is also done to clear up an infection that did not respond to regular Root Canal treatment.