Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a solution that is required when tooth nerves suffer from infection or decay. In carrying out this procedure, the bacteria, nerves, pulp (the living tissue in the tooth) are removed and the space left is filled with specially formulated dental materials, and the tooth is restored to its original shape and function.
Root canal therapy can help save a tooth that otherwise would decay and have to be removed. Lots of patients prefer to have their tooth removed when there is a problem, but they fail to realize that this is usually more expensive and would be a problem for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment has a high success rate and can last a lifetime, although, on occasion, a tooth may require treatment if it suffers from new infections.
Symptoms and signs of possible root canal therapy:
- Sensitivity to cold and hot
- An abscess (or a pimple) on the gums
- Severe toothache ache
- Swelling and/or tenderness
- Sometimes no symptoms are present
Reasons for root canal therapy:
- Decay has spread to the tooth pulp
- Abscess or infection has formed at the root tip or inside the tooth
- Trauma or injury to the tooth
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal therapy can be done in one or two visits, and the procedure can be handled by a dentist or endodontist – a root canal specialist.
With the tooth numb, a sheet of rubber (a rubber dam) is placed around the tooth to keep off saliva. A large opening is created on top of the tooth, and several root canal files are fixed into the opening, one after the other, getting rid of the bacteria, pulp, and nerve tissue. Special dental instruments will also be used to remove any decay present.
The tooth is cleaned and sealed using a permanent filling or, if there’s a need for more appointments, a temporary filling is placed.
During the next appointment, which is usually a week later, the inside cavity of the tooth, as well as the roots, are filled and sealed with some special dental materials. The opening of the top of the tooth is covered with a filing. Also, all teeth that have undergone root canal therapy should have a cap (crown) placed. This will help in protecting the tooth and restoring it to its original function.
You may experience some sensitivity just after your treatment, but this will reduce as the swelling reduces and the tooth heals.
You will get care instructions after every appointment. Practicing proper hygiene, healthy eating, as well as periodic dental visits, will enhance the life of your root canal therapy.