Root canal treatment is carried out when the pulp (soft tissue inside a tooth) is either inflamed or dead. The pulp is a tissue made up of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
The pulp may become inflamed or may die if either there is significant decay in a tooth, if there is a large restoration (filling or crown) or if the tooth has been subjected to trauma.
The inflamed pulp may cause a toothache or remain pain-free. When the pulp dies, the space it inhabits (the root canal) rapidly becomes infected with bacteria. This may cause pain and swelling in the supporting tissues (abscess) or the tooth may remain symptom-free.
The purpose of root canal treatment is to remove the inflamed tissue or bacteria inside the root canal and thus allow the surrounding tissues to heal. After cleaning the root canal system, the space created is filled with a root filling to prevent reinfection. A material called gutta-percha is used as the root filling material. This is a natural substance very similar to rubber. The root canal system, especially in molars, is often complex and difficult to clean well. This is why many general dentists prefer to refer these cases to a specialist who has the training, equipment, and experience to deal with them well.
The treatment is time-consuming because of its complexity but can readily be done using modern local anaesthetic techniques with little or no discomfort. It is normal for patients to experience some soreness after treatment as the supporting tissues of the tooth may be a little bruised.
Currently, we can expect success rates of over 90%
Who can perform Endodontic treatment ?
All dentists, including your general dentist, received training in this treatment whilst in dental school. However, general dentists often refer patients needing root canal treatment to an endodontists.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment can involve two or more visits. The total time required for the procedure can be up to 2 hours.
A local anesthetic is used throughout the procedure, for the next 24 hours you may feel discomfort which can be relieved by a painkiller.
Endodontic treatment is usually less expensive than having the tooth extracted and a replacement bridge or implant being carried out. Modern techniques can increase success and comfort of Root Canal Treatment by 90%.
Your dentist will advice you if the tooth should be crowned to increase the longevity of the treatment.