Question: What is Root Canal Treatment?
Answer: Root canal treatment refers to the process by which a dentist treats the inner aspect of the tooth. A cavity if left untreated will eventually reach the pulp chamber which is situated in the middle of the tooth.
-Contains blood vessels, ampoule connective tissue and the nerve.
-The nerve enters at the tip of the root and runs through the center of the root in small canals. In teeth that have multiple roots, the nerves from the roots all come together in the middle of the crown, the pulp chamber.
-Is important in the growth and development of the tooth.
-Provides the ability of the tooth to feel hot and cold.
Tooth infection can lead to abscess formation
-Once decay has gotten to the pulp chamber, bacteria and bacterial toxins build up within the tooth and the nerve starts to degenerate. The pulp becomes inflamed and a pulpitis develops this progress from being reversible to irreversible.
-As the pulpitis becomes worse, the patient will have pain, first to cold, then to hot and cold and finally spontaneous pain.
-Infection can spread from the tooth via the nerve canals to the surrounding tissues causing the formation of a dental abscess.
-A dental abscess have the potential to spread and become very large or even life-threatening if not treated in a timely fashion.
-Once a tooth has an irreversible pulpitis, it either has to be extracted or have root canal therapy performed.
Root Canal Therapy
-The dentist will determine if root canal therapy is needed by reviewing an x-ray of the tooth.
-Local anesthesia is administered.
-A handpiece(drill) is used to access the pulp chamber. Small instruments called root canal files are used to remove the nerve from the root canals.
-Nerve is replaced with a pink material called gutta percha.
-This process can usually be completed in one visit, but sometimes may require multiple visits, especially if the patient presents with an abscess. Usually antibiotics and analgesics are prescribed to minimize any post-operative discomfort.
-Root canal have traditionally been given the reputation of been a painful procedure, but this is rarely the case. The procedure can be PAINLESS if the patient is adequately anesthetized.
-Root canal specialists called Endodontists have advance training in root canal therapy and difficult cases are usually referred to them.
A painful tooth with irreversible pupitis will either need to be extracted or have root canal therapy completed. If the tooth have enough tooth structure left, then root canal therapy is the best option. If the tooth is a wisdom tooth, then extraction is usually recommended because it is usually difficult to perform a root canal on wisdom teeth.
It is also easier to restore a root canal treated tooth than to replace a missing tooth. A root canal treated tooth will usually require a post, core and crown to be fully restored, while a missing tooth will require a removal or fixed bridge or an implant to replace it. In terms of finances, it is usually less expensive to restore the root canal treated tooth than to replace a missing tooth..