Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a dental treatment that aims to save a tooth and prevent deep infection from spreading.
What is root canal treatment and what to expect?
A dental pulp can be found in the centre of a tooth and is a soft substance consisting of nerves, connective tissue and blood supply that spreads into the roots of the tooth. When the dental pulp becomes infected and the nutrients it usually provides fails to reach the roots of the tooth, the pulp must be cleaned out and removed in order to save the tooth and prevent damaging surrounding teeth.
A damaged dental pulp can be the result of multiple oral health issues or events that cause it to become infected, such as:
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay beneath a deep filling
- Untreated dental decay
- Long-standing cracks in the teeth
- Habitual tooth grinding
- An event of trauma that has caused damage to the tooth
How are root canals treated?
Root canal treatment can be performed by your dentist or a trained endodontic dentist and takes longer than regular filling but is not necessarily more painful. The following steps briefly explain the treatment process.
- X-ray – an x-ray of the tooth is first taken to determine the extent of infection and see the shape of the damaged tooth’s canal.
- Removal of dead pulp – a hole is drilled into the decaying tooth and infected nerve tissue, pus, debris, old fillings, and tooth decay is removed.
- Canals must be shaped – in order to refill the now empty tooth canal, they must be smoothly shaped into tunnels using small utensils. This will prevent bacteria from hiding anywhere.
- Filling the canals – to prevent re-infection, the canal is permanently sealed with barrier material.
- Restoring the crown – to enable a full functioning tooth and ensure no bacteria can leak back into the tooth, it must be sealed with a crown or the part of the tooth we use to chew with.
Further cosmetic dentistry may be required to ensure the tooth remains the same colour as your existing healthy teeth.
Signs that you may need root canal treatment
Though a decaying tooth can show no symptoms that it may need root canal treatment, there are signs to look out for, these include:
- Swollen or tender gums
- Severe tooth ache when chewing
- Long lasting sensitivity to hot or cold
- Darkening of the tooth
- Swelling of the face or neck
- A whole in the tooth or pimple on the gum
If left untreated pulp infection can have cause major complications on your oral health. Not only can you lose the damaged tooth completely but, infection can spread into surrounding bone, more severely causing erosion of nearby jawbone.
SDAI uses a holistic approach to dentistry and offers the most innovative procedures for root canal treatment, that will minimise time required to perform root canal therapy, reduce bacteria, and treat you with less pain. Laser root canal treatment is one way we can achieve this, as a laser light can penetrate the canal deeper than alternative methods.
Are you local to Sydney CBD and surrounding suburbs? To learn more about our root canal therapy and treatments, or book in for a consultation, contact us today!
Still have questions on root canal therapy? Read more in our article: Root Canal Treatment: Everything You Need to Know