Root Canal Treatments
A root canal treatment is used to save teeth which otherwise need to be removed. Root canal treatment is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (called the ‘pulp’) is infected through decay or injury.
You may not feel any pain in the early stages of the infection. In some cases, your tooth could darken in colour, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). While a root canal treatment should resolve the issue, an extraction may be required if the infection spreads.
You may need a root canal treatment if you have a damaged or infected tooth that affects the dental pulp of the tooth. Dental pulp is the soft core at the center of a tooth that extends from the crown of the tooth (the visible top part) down to the tip of the roots deep within the gumline and extending to the jawbone. This dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue, so when a tooth becomes damaged (by cracking or by cavity), bacteria can enter and damage the tooth’s health.
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain, and the tooth may be tender when you bite.
Dr. David will take dental X-rays to assess the damage to the tooth and administer a local anesthetic to the affected area to help suppress any feeling. A small, rubber-like sheet called a dental dam in the mouth to keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
During the procedure, Dr. David will remove decay from the outer areas and then make an opening through the crown of the tooth. This is done to allow access to the dental pulp inside. Once the hole is made, the infected or diseased pulp is removed from the tooth.
If a root canal treatment is not done, the infection will spread, and the tooth may need to be extracted. The aim of the treatment is to remove all the infection from the root canal and fill to prevent decay.
Once the diseased or infected pulp is removed, your pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and if necessary reshaped or enlarged for the filling process that comes later. If the original infection has spread to other areas of the mouth, you may get a prescription for antibiotics or have another procedure scheduled.
If your root canal procedure requires more than one visit, Dr. David may give you a temporary filling for the crown on top of the affected tooth. This temporary crown helps protect the tooth from food debris and saliva while you wait for your next procedure. While this crown remains in place, avoid biting or chewing with it until the full tooth has been both treated and restored.
Once the tooth has been properly cleaned and treated, it’s time to refill the tooth to restore its structural integrity. It’s possible that more anesthesia might not be needed for this part of the process. If you had a temporary crown and filling placed on the tooth, it will be removed and replaced with a compound of rubber and sealer paste that will fill the remaining area inside the tooth. Once the dental pulp area is refilled with this paste, an adhesive filling will be added to the root canals to make sure they’re protected from saliva or food debris.
The tooths strength is now restored by placing a crown on top. Crowns are made of several different kinds of material and can be tinted or coloured to match the exact colour of your other teeth, so they don’t stand out. Dr. David may also recommend inserting a metal post into the tooth for added structural integrity before the crown is applied.
Your tooth, and the surrounding area, may be a little sensitive for a few days after the procedure. This is completely normal, and over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate any lingering pain or pressure you may experience. Otherwise, your restored tooth and crown should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Practicing good and constant oral hygiene will ensure that your restored tooth will continue to work well for a lifetime. Adhering to the Vard Dental policy of “Twice a Year is Best” will help you to Keep Your Teeth (and restored teeth) for Life.