Modern Root Canal Treatment put very simply has given dentists a safe and effective way of saving teeth. Sometimes the tooth’s soft internal core (the dental pulp) inside your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. This can be caused by a number of different things including deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack or chip in the tooth surface or a blow to the tooth. Years ago there were no options for treating these things and teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, dentists use Root Canal Treatment to find the cause and then treat problems of the dental pulp.
There are a number of signs to look for when determining whether you need Root Canal Treatment including pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums. But sometimes, there are no symptoms.
Dental pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaws. When the tooth pulp is diseased or injured and can’t repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let germs in the form of bacteria enter the pulp. This can cause an infection inside the tooth. Left without treatment an infection then builds up at the root tip, forming a “pus-pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth and can be very painful.
When infected dental pulp is not removed through treatment, pain and swelling will likely result. Certain byproducts of the infection have the potential to injure your jawbone and cause a lot of problems. Therefore without Root Canal Treatment, your tooth may need to be removed.
Root Canal Treatment often involves from one to three visits to be fully complete. During treatment, your dentist will remove the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canals of your tooth are then cleaned and sealed. Following Root Canal Treatment it is normal for a Crown to then be needed to cosmetically restore the tooth.
A restored tooth following Root Canal Treatment could potentially last a lifetime, as long as you continue to care for your teeth and gums properly. Remember, regular checkups are necessary to your wider dental health and as long as the roots of a treated tooth remain clean and nourished by the tissues around it, then your tooth will remain healthy.
All dentists, including your general dentist, received basic training in Endodontics while in dental school. Endodontists are specialist dentists who perform only Root Canal Treatments, both routine and complex. Endodontists are experienced at finding the cause of oral and facial pain that is difficult to diagnose. Often general dentists refer patients needing Root Canal Treatment to Endodontists.
You should not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist this is because your tooth could fracture. To resolve this problem it is normal for a crown to be fitted to a tooth that has been treated with a Root Canal procedure. The only requirements following treatment are that you practice good oral hygiene, normal brushing, flossing and regular dental checkups and hygiene visits.