Root Canal Therapy is a procedure performed by a dentist or an Endodontist. Contrary to popular belief, root canal therapy is not ‘scary’ or ‘painful’, the pain that can come with a root canal is due to an infection in the tooth. The presence of an infection can often can cause swelling and prevents the local anaesthetic from working effectively.
If the nerve of a tooth ‘dies’ or becomes infected, in order to save this tooth, the dentist or Endodontist would need to preform a root canal therapy. A nerve can become infected due to decay, trauma such as a blow to the face or a crack (often caused by amalgam fillings or grinding/clenching that you may or may not be aware of).
A root canal usually takes 3 appointments. At the first visit the infected nerve or “pulp” is removed from the tooth using a very thin instrument, the canals inside each root are cleaned out and shaped with a sequence of very fine Endodontic files. Once the canals have been shaped and all of the soft tissue from each canal is removed to ensure there is no infection remaining, an antibiotic dressing is placed inside the canals and the tooth is sealed up until visit 2.
In the second appointment, further cleaning is done and more antibiotic dressing is placed to ensure the infection has been completely eradicated before the final visit.
In the final visit of root canal therapy (visit 3), some more cleaning and measuring is required to remove any remaining soft tissue and the canals are filled with a rubber like material (gutta percha) from the tips (apex) of the roots to the floor of the pulp chamber. Once the canals are filled, a semi-permanent filling is placed.
When the nerve of a tooth is removed, this tooth becomes extremely fragile/brittle as blood is no longer being supplied to this tooth. This can often mean you don’t feel the pressure on biting with this tooth which makes it more susceptible to chipping, breaking & cracking. For this reason, your dentist will recommend a crown be placed on this tooth. As an interim, your dentist may place a metal band on this tooth until the crown is placed, the metal band acts in the same way as a crown by preventing your tooth from flexing when you bite which helps to prevent cracks from spreading further.
Great skill is required to undertake such a procedure and to ensure that the tooth is properly treated to prevent future infection.
Our skilled dentists here at Affinity Dentistry perform root canal therapy daily with the overall aim of preserving natural teeth for functional and often aesthetic purposes for the future!
Contact us at Affinity Dentistry today to learn more about root canal therapy and see if our dentists can save your tooth today.