What is Root Canal Treatment
Our dentists uses root canal treatment to find the cause of and then treat problems related to the tooth’s soft core, the dental pulp. In the past, teeth with diseased or injured pulps often were removed. Today, root canal treatment allow our dentists a safe way of saving teeth.
The pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaw.
When the pulp is diseased or injured and cannot repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let bacteria enter the pulp, causing an infection inside the tooth.
Left without treatment, pus builds up at the root tip in the jawbone forming a “pus-pocket” called an abscess. An abscess can cause damage to the bone around the teeth. When the infected pulp is not removed, pain and swelling can result. Certain byproducts of the infection can injure the jaw bones. Without treatment, your tooth may have to be removed.
Root canal treatment often involves from one to three visits. During treatment, a general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
A restored tooth can last a lifetime if you continue to care for your teeth and gums. However, regular checkups are necessary. As long as the root of a treated tooth is nourished by the tissues around it, your tooth will remain healthy.
When is root canal treatment needed?
Usually, root canals are recommended or needed when there is an infection deep within the tooth. The pulp inside the tooth can become infected with bacteria because of an injury or because of a severe, untreated cavity. Without treatment, the infection can become severe enough that the tooth has to be removed.
What to expect
Root canal is essentially a four-step process. Treatment is usually performed over two office visits.
- Using a needle, the dentist administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth. It’s common to feel a bit of a pinch in the area when the needle goes in. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist might place a dental dam, a small sheet of rubber that isolates the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
- Your dentist will then use very small tools, such as a small drill, to access the inside of the tooth by creating an opening in the top portion of the tooth. Next, the dentist will use small files to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. He or she will also use the files to shape the inner chamber of the tooth and root and might irrigate the chamber with water to wash away any remaining pulp. Your dentist might also put an antimicrobial solution in the chamber to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk for further infection.
- Once the chamber is thoroughly cleaned and dried, the endodontist will fill it. A rubber-like material called gutta percha is often used. Your dentist will close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling, while you wait for the permanent crown.
- After a few weeks, your dentist will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown or a similar type of restoration on the top of the tooth. Depending on the condition of your natural tooth, the dentist may need to place a small supporting post inside of the root chamber, to make the crown or restoration more stable.
Dr. Ryan Yun
Dr. Ryan Yun
10 years experienceFrom Korea, Graduated from Australia.
+65 6227 7708