A root canal is needed when infection has permeated the interior of the tooth. Without treatment the patient is faced with the potential for abscess and tooth loss.
The root canal has a negative reputation, but in reality the treatment is quick and the end result relieves the patient from tooth ache while saving the tooth. The dentist will segregate the tooth requiring treatment to keep infection from spreading. Dental instruments will be used to penetrate the hard covering that is intended to protect the tooth.
At this point the nerve, pulp, blood and infection are excavated from the canal (interior) of the tooth. Prior to getting started, an x-ray will be taken to determine exactly how many canals the tooth has. It is imperative that all canals are treated to remove all the infection. [pullquote]The root canal has a negative reputation, but in reality the treatment is quick and the end result relieves the patient from tooth ache while saving the tooth.[/pullquote]
After each canal has been cleaned and thoroughly rinsed, antibiotics may be required. Before the final restoration is placed, the tooth’s chambers are treated with gutta-percha, a rubbery substance used to take up the space in the tooth that formerly contained the nerve and pulp. This plant based material is ideal for this application for its adaptability that will insulate the interior of the tooth and provide stability for the tooth after root canal therapy.
The access point used to drill out the nerve will need to be sealed. This can be done in one of several ways, depending on the condition and location of the treated tooth. If a tooth has experienced dental decay, the decision to seal the tooth with a crown is preferred. For a tooth free from decay, the access point may be sealed with composite resin.
At the conclusion of successful root canal therapy and sealing the opening, the natural tooth has been salvaged. But what would happen if treatment had not been done? The infection could spread to the tip of the root resulting in puss pockets, or an abscess. There is a possibility of the infection spreading to other areas, bone loss in gum tissue, and eventual loss of the tooth.
A tooth treated will not feel any different than before, and the only care required is the normal daily hygiene regimen of flossing and brushing and continued visits twice per year to the dentist for a clinical cleaning and exam.