Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop.
When bacteria (germs) enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it needs to be removed. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling. Your dentist may notice the infection from a dental x-ray or from other changes with the tooth.
If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems.
How is a root canal treatment done?
Your dentist will give you a local anesthetic (freezing).
To protect your tooth from bacteria in your saliva during the treatment, she places a rubber dam around the tooth being treated.
Your dentist makes an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
Using very fine dental instruments, she removes the pulp by cleaning and enlarging the root canal system.
After the canal has been cleaned, she fills and seals the canal.
The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling.
You may be prescribed pain killers and/or antibiotics to help with healing.
Tooth restoration after root canal treatment
After a root canal your tooth has to be restored to look, feel and work as much like a natural tooth as possible. Your dentist may use a permanent filling or a crown to restore your tooth. The choice of restoration will depend on the strength of the part of the tooth that’s left. A back tooth will likely need a crown because chewing puts a great deal of force on back teeth. If there is not enough of the tooth left, posts may be used to help support the crown.
What else should I know?
Root canal treatment may be done in 1 or 2 visits. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. Bad pain or swelling are NOT common. If this happens, call your dentist.
You can still get a cavity or gum disease after a root canal treatment. Root canal treatment does not protect your tooth from other types of damage.
With proper care and regular dental visits, the tooth could last as long as your other teeth. Most of the time, a tooth that has had a root canal treatment can be saved.
However, there are cases where everything possible has been done to save a tooth and still the tooth must be extracted (pulled).
In the end please speak to us if you think you need a root canal. Its better NOT to google and hear it from the professionals.