Your Dentist may recommend Root Canal Treatment as a last resort to save your tooth from being extracted.
This may be due to a few reasons, such as;
- A dental abscess causing pain and/or a swollen face
- Active decay that has involved the nerve or pulp of the tooth
- After a trauma or accident which may have fractured the tooth where the nerve or pulp is. Even years later after an accident, the tooth may go dark in colour, and root canal treatment may be required.
What exactly is Root Canal Treatment?
It is the removal of the infected nerve inside the tooth, it is cleaned and disinfected before it is filled. Some teeth have a single canal such as the front teeth and some teeth such as the back teeth, have multiple canals.
There are 3 main stages in root canal treatment, sometimes there may be an additional one.
This is typically what happens;
At each stage;
- A local anesthetic is given to make your tooth completely numb
- A rubber dam or sheet is used to isolate and protect your tooth
Using a drill a small opening is made in the tooth to access and remove the infected nerve and an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory dressing is placed inside the canal of the tooth with fine paper points.
The canal/s is cleaned using special files. They are disinfected, dried and redressed again with an antibiotic/anti-inflammatory paste.
By now the tooth has settled down, it is cleaned and ready to be filled with special filling points.
The tooth is ready for a permanent filling and then a crown after a few weeks.
Digital x-rays are taken between the stages to check the length of the canal and the finished filling. A temporary filling is also placed between each stage to protect the tooth.
Occasionally antibiotics are prescribed during treatment.
Why not just extract the tooth?
An empty space will result in the adjacent and opposing teeth to move into that space with loss of function.
Why does the tooth need a crown?
A crown is used as a final restoration to;
- Restore strength and stability to protect your root filled tooth
- Restore function
- Restore appearance