Getting to the Root of Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment sounds daunting, but fear not, root canal treatment is a procedure routinely performed by most dentists in order to save teeth from extraction. Read all about Root Canal Treatment and how this dental procedure can save your natural tooth.

Root Canal Treatment is necessary when the pulp of a tooth becomes inflamed or diseased. The pulp is the soft tissue inside the tooth containing nerves, connective tissue and blood vessels, providing moisture, nutrients and ‘feeling’ to the tooth.

Pulp infection can be caused by a variety of things including dental decay, repeated or extensive dental work on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth, advanced gum disease and injury or trauma to the tooth. If left untreated, pain and swelling or an abscess can result and the tooth may need to be removed.

The symptoms of an infected pulp may include; hypersensitivity to thermal changes, swelling in the gums, pain which if advanced can wake you from your sleep or tooth discolouration

During root canal treatment, the diseased pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth (the pulp chamber and root canal(s)) are cleaned and sealed with a filling material called gutta percha. The procedure may take several appointments. Your dentist will also need to take several x-rays throughout the procedure to check the length and shape of the root canals. Where several appointments are required a temporary filling will be used to protect the tooth between visits.

After the root canal treatment is completed, a crown or other restoration will need to be placed on top of the tooth to protect and restore it. As tooth structure must be removed to gain access to the pulp, a crown is often recommended to provide additional strength to the tooth.

All dentists are trained to perform root canal therapy, however you may also be referred to an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists who have completed additional training in root canal therapy procedures and who now specialise only in root canal therapy.

While root canal treatment can be successful in most circumstances where the infection is treated in a timely fashion, as with any dental treatment, success cannot be guaranteed and there are some associated risks with the procedure. Your dentist will outline these with you in detail at the time of treatment. Risks may however include; reinfection of the tooth requiring retreatment, fracture of the tooth (more often when not protected by a crown), altered sensation associated with the tooth, discolouration of the tooth, or problems such as instrument fracture during the cleansing of the canals. Should any of these occur, your dentists will assist you with further options.

Should you find yourself with an infected tooth, it is important to discuss the treatment options available with your dentist. You can request an appointment online at your nearest Pacific Smiles Dental Centre in a matter of minutes.

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