Root canal treatment is necessary when you want to save a tooth that has a pulp (nerve) that is infected. Most often the tooth is painful. This can be due to a number of reasons including decay or an accident causing damage to the pulp of the tooth. Once a nerve is damaged and will not repair itself the roots of the affected tooth must be cleaned of any infection or bugs that have entered – this is what is causing you pain! The only alternative to treating a tooth with Root Canal Therapy is extraction.
The number of steps involved depends on how badly infected a tooth is. If the infection is relatively minor the canals are filled and sealed with a permanent filling once they have been cleaned out. Should the infection require more time to settle an antibiotic paste is spiralled into the canals. This is left for a period of 2-4 weeks and if the tooth is comfortable the canals are cleaned out again and sealed with a permanent filling. In extreme cases 3 or more appointments may be required.
At our practice the perceived pain of cleaning out a tooth’s canals can be eased through sedation. Even without sedation the use of a high powered microscope (20x mag) enables our Dentist to see right to the end of any canal (you are able to see this through a microscope camera should you wish), and limits discomfort to a bare minimum. Local anaesthetic is used in all cases to give maximum comfort.
Though standard fillings can repair the tooth back to full stability and strength, a tooth that has undergone root therapy may not be as strong as its initial state before infection. In these cases the tooth may require a crown or similar full coverage restoration.
In the vast majority of cases the tooth responds to treatment and is no longer a cause of trouble.