Root Canal Therapy (Endodontics) is a highly successful (greater than 90%), non-painful treatment for a diseased tooth and surrounding unhealthy bone. It will provide the patient with relief from pain whilst also saving the tooth.
What is Root Canal Therapy?
Unfortunately, untreated decay and sometimes trauma, overtime, can lead to the nerve of the tooth dying. This in time can lead to an abscess, or pain, requiring the tooth to have root-canal treatment or an extraction. The diseased tooth may not show symptoms for a long time, but in the mean time is spreading bacteria and pus into the surrounding bone, causing a negative effect on general health. Modern root-canal treatment has a greater than 90% rate of success and involves cleaning out the necrotic and diseased tissue in the root canals, then sealing and filling the canals to prevent further infection.
Causes of infection and pain from the nerve:
- Deep decay in the tooth whereby bacteria are entering the nerve
- Breakdown or loss of an old filling
- Gum disease
- Crack in the tooth
- Extreme wear
Usually three visits required, although pain will be gone after the first visit. If a severe abscess has formed, oral antibiotics may be required to treat the infection.
A small hole is drilled through the top of the tooth into where the nerve exists. The dead and diseased pulp tissue/nerve tissue is removed, irrigated and cleaned and the length of the root is measure. An antibiotic paste is then put into the root and left there until the next visit.
The tooth is irrigated again and the final shaping of the root-canals is done. More antibacterial medication will be applied.
The cleansed root-canals are then filled with an inert material called gutta percha and sealant. If the tooth is fragile, it is recommended to have the tooth crowned; usually 6-12months after the root canal treatment has been completed. Following root canal treatment, x-rays will be taken to monitor the growth of new healthy bone at the end of the roots.