What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (endodontic treatment) fixes problems with a tooth’s soft core or dental pulp. The pulp lies within the tooth, extending from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root. It contains nerves, connective tissue and blood and lymph vessels which provide oxygen, nutrients and feeling to the tooth. It also regulates the growth and development of the tooth during childhood.
Root canal treatment involves removing inflammed, diseased or dead pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals of a tooth and replacing it with an “inert” rubberised filling in order to prevent the tooth from being extracted. It has long term success in over 90% of cases unless the tooth is no longer structurally sound.
When is root canal treatment necessary?
Root canal treatment may be recommended in cases of:
- infection caused by deep decay or a large filling
- trauma, such as a blow to a tooth
- a fracture in the tooth allowing bacteria to enter the pulp tissue
- excessive teeth grinding that can expose the inner pulp tissue of the tooth over time
The symptoms of damaged, diseased or inflammed dental pulp requiring root canal treatment may include:
- pain and pressure at the site of the tooth
- hot and cold sensitivity
- mobility of the tooth
- swelling and tenderness is the gums surrounding the tooth
- discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- the presence of pus at the site of the tooth
- facial swelling
A diagnosis for root canal treatment is made on the basis of symptoms reported by the patient, an examination of the tooth, pulp testing and x-rays of the tooth.
What are the benefits of root canal treatment?
The main aim of root canal treatment is to save a tooth that would otherwise be extracted. Retaining natural teeth is considered the best solution from a dental perspective and prevents the need for replacement teeth, which can be time-consuming, painful and costly. It is performed on teeth with sufficient structural integrity and is usually over 90% successful.
If a tooth requiring root canal treatment is left untreated, widespread gum and connective tissue infection may result as well as loss of the tooth. It is advisable to contact us at the first sign of any of the above-mentioned symptoms associated with a damaged, diseased or inflammed dental pulp.