Why Root Canal Therapy?
Root canal therapy is a dental procedure used to treat an infection buried within the center of a tooth – an area known as the root canal. This is caused by a few different reasons, including:
- Tooth decay
- Fillings that have leaked
- Damage to the tooth as a result of trauma or an injury
Root Canal & Root Canal Treatment
The root canal area contains the soft tissue at the tooth’s center (known as the pulp) and extends between the tooth’s crown to the very end of the root. A common misconception is that a single tooth only has one root canal. In fact, a single tooth can have multiple root canals!
The tooth’s pulp contains blood vessels and nerves and can quickly die when attacked by bacteria. The mouth is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so they can quickly multiply and eventually pass out the end of the root canal through the tiny hole where the blood vessels and nerves enter. Once it’s reached this point, nothing can stop the bacteria from spreading and causing further issues such as dental abscesses. This can cause your whole face to swell and become extremely painful.
When Should Root Canal Treatment be Carried Out?
Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp has become damaged by a bacterial infection. Although x-rays may be used to determine if damage is present, there are many other symptoms of a pulp infection, including:
- A loose tooth
- Pain when eating or drinking hot or cold food or drink
- Pain when biting or chewing
Quite often, these symptoms disappear once the pulp has died. However, this means the infection has spread into the root canal system. It will be a matter of time before other symptoms develop, including:
- Darkening of the tooth
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Swelling of the gum near the affected tooth
- Pus or other fluid oozing from the tooth
- Swelling of the face
How to Deal with an Infection
Unfortunately, the pulp within your tooth cannot heal itself, and leaving the infected tooth within your mouth may make the infection worse. Root canal treatment is the only method of dealing with it – otherwise, your only option is to have the tooth removed entirely.
Many people wonder why they aren’t prescribed antibiotics for pulp or root canal infections. This is because the active ingredients within the antibiotics can only work if they can reach the site of the infection through your blood. Antibiotic treatment is no longer possible if the bacteria have killed off the blood vessels,
Root Canal Procedure
The procedure for a root canal is straightforward and performed under local anesthetic. You should not feel any pain.
- An opening is made through the tooth’s crown so your dentist at Vero Dental Spa can access the pulp chamber.
- Special files – known as endodontic files – are used to clean the infection and remove all unhealthy pulp from the canals.
- Next, the canals will need to be shaped so they can be filled. During this process, your dentist will remove any remaining debris via irrigation.
- The canals will then be filled with a permanent material known as gutta-percha. Once filled, the canals are much less prone to contamination or infection.
- Your dentist will then rebuild your tooth using a temporary filling until a permanent crown or filling is ready for fitting. If preparation has been done ahead of time, you may receive a permanent cover right away.
- It may be necessary to provide the crown with some additional support if you’re having one fitted over the affected tooth. This usually comes in the form of a small piece of metal inserted into the root next to the gutta-percha. This will help hold your new crown securely in place.
What if Root Canal Treatment is Unsuccessful?
There are times when a root canal treatment is unsuccessful in treating an infection. In these instances, Vero Dental Spa can advise you further on other options, like dental implants.