A root canal is one of the most common dental procedures performed, well over 14 million every year. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges.
“Endo” is the Greek word for “inside” and “odont” is Greek for “tooth.” Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth.
To understand endodontic treatment otherwise known as a root canal, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp is a collection of blood vessels and nerves that helps to build the surrounding tooth. Infection of the pulp can be caused by trauma to the tooth, deep decay, deep fillings, cracks and chips, or repeated dental procedures. Signs and symptoms of the infection can be identified as swelling to the gum below a tooth, prolonged pain to hot and cold and inability to bite down on the tooth.
Prolonged Pain to hot & cold
Radiating Pain in the jaw
Swelling of the gums
Tenderness to biting on the teeth
Discoloration of the tooth
These steps include:
During the root canal treatment the infected pulp is removed from the tooth and replaced with a special filling.
The steps of the procedure are the following:
An x-ray is taken for an accurate diagnosis.
Local anesthesia is administered to make the treatment completely painless
The dentist makes a small opening on the crown to access the root canals.
The infected pulp is removed.
The dentist cleans the root canals thoroughly and enlarges them to be able to fill them properly.
In case the root canal treatment is carried out over multiple sessions, the dentist may place medication in the cleaned canal to kill any remaining bacteria and seals the tooth with a temporary filling.
During the following visit, the medication and the temporary filling is removed, and the root canal filling is placed.
Finally, the dentist seals the tooth with a filling or a crown, depending on the extent of the damage.
The circulation stops in the devitalised tooth which – along with the lack of pulp inside the tooth – makes the tooth more fragile and prone to chipping. In some cases, the dentist will recommend a crown to be placed on the tooth to avoid further problems.
After the painless root canal treatment, you can enjoy your devitalized tooth for the rest of your life with proper care. However, it is important to know, that after a while the devitalized tooth can darken or become more fragile.
The most common cause of tooth discoloration after root canal treatment is a small amount of pulp being left inside the tooth. The decomposing pulp can make the tooth darken. This can be corrected by teeth whitening or veneers.
When to Visit the Dentist
Many people only go to the dentist when something is wrong. That is truly a shame, because they are missing out on so many preventive services that can save discomfort — and expense — down the road. Regular dental visits are essential to make sure oral health problems — from tooth decay to oral cancer — are detected and treated in a timely manner. Some individuals may need to see the dentist more often than others to stay on top of problems like plaque buildup and gum disease, but everyone should go at least once per year.
Your regular dental visits will include a thorough oral exam to check the health of your teeth and gums; and oral cancer screening to spot any suspicious signs early; and a professional cleaning to remove stubborn deposits and make your teeth look and feel great. So don’t miss out on the many benefits general dentistry offers you and your family!