- Such infections are caused by harmful bacteria that reside in the mouth and go on to invade the inner layers of a tooth. This can occur after tooth decay deep into the pulp or fracture of the tooth exposing the pulp. The dental pulp is a soft tissue located at the centre of a tooth.
A root canal (also known as endodontic treatment), is a treatment designed to tackle infections at the centre of a tooth (known as the root canal system).
Such infections are caused by harmful bacteria that reside in the mouth and go on to invade the inner layers of a tooth. This can occur after tooth decay deep into the pulp or fracture of the tooth exposing the pulp. The dental pulp is a soft tissue located at the centre of a tooth.
If your dentist suspects you have a bacterial infection deep in the pulp layer, they will take a dental x-ray to confirm that pulp has been damaged.
If this is the case, then a root canal treatment is the only way to save your tooth if you don’t want to loose your tooth.
Symptoms to look out for:
• Pain when eating hot or cold food and drink.
• Pain when biting and chewing.
• A loose tooth.
It is essential that you visit your dentist, if you have any reason to believe you may have an infected tooth.
When the infection advances, the symptoms above will regress as the pulp in your tooth dies which may lead you to believe that the tooth has healed. When in actual fact the infection has spread through the root canal system.
Understanding the procedure
1. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the tooth for the comfort of the patient.
2. Small instruments and tools, such as a small drill, are used to to access the inside of the tooth by creating an opening in the top portion of the tooth.
3. Next, the dentist uses small files to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth.
4. Dentist 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.
5. An antimicrobial solution is used in the chamber to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk for further infection.
6. Once the chamber is thoroughly cleaned and dried, the dentist will fill it. A rubber-like material called gutta percha is often used.
7. Your dentist will close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling, while you wait for the permanent crown.
8. 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. 9. 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.
Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work.
With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last for a very long time.
If you are worried about any of the symptoms as mentioned in this article, call your dentist.
It is important to detect problems at an early stage in order to achieve the good after results of the treatment, therefore regular dental and hygiene check-ups are very important.