Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is a procedure that is done to save a tooth rather than extract the tooth. Root canal treatment becomes necessary when the pulp or the nerves in the tooth become inflamed or infected. Inflammation or infection can be caused for a variety of reasons and the most common reasons being deep decay, cracked tooth, deep fillings, severe clenching and grinding of teeth. Infected or inflamed pulp will lead to an abscess over time.

Signs and Symptoms that the Pulp is infected or inflamed

1.    Pain

2.    Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold

3.    Tenderness to touch or chewing

4.    Discolored teeth

5.    Swelling

6.    Pus drainage near the teeth

7.    Swollen lymph nodes, soft tissues

 Steps in Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment can be performed in either one visit or over multiple visits, the dentist will advise you of the number of visits involved and is usually dependent on the state of the tooth. Non-infected, traumatic injuries can be treated in one visit, however teeth with abscess will require multiple visits to enable healing of the abscess.

 Step 1 – Diagnosis

Clinical examination of the affected tooth and diagnostic tools such as X-rays would be used by the dentist to arrive at the diagnosis. X-rays play an important part in helping the dentist decide on the course of treatment as it helps the dentist to visualize the number of canals in the tooth, size of the abscess, curvature of the roots and other factors that can influence treatment. Not all teeth can be root treated effectively and we would refer you to a specialist if required.

The dentist would then discuss the procedure, costs involved and sign a consent form prior to any treatment.


Step 2 – Treatment
Treatment Phase can be broken down into stages

a. Management of Pain

The first step in the treatment phase would be numb the tooth to minimize any discomfort. Infection control is a very important step in Root Canal Treatment and to achieve this the dentist would then place a rubber dam on the affected tooth prior to creating access opening on the tooth to remove the infected pulp and facilitate the drainage of the abscess. Frequent irrigation and cleaning of the canals would be performed by the dentist. At the conclusion, the root system would be filled with a medicated dressing to aid healing

b. Cleaning the root system of the tooth

A special dental motor and file is used to clean the canals and shape the canal to receive the root filling. The tooth would be tested further to check for any persistence of symptoms or discomfort. Any additional treatment that is need would be discussed with you

c. Root filling the root system

The final stage in treatment step is root fill the canals and progress to the restorative stage

Step 3 – Restorative

Now that the root filling has been done the next step is to restore function. The definitive restoration for a root treated tooth is a dental Crown. In the interim period, we suggest a composite restoration for a period of 3 to 6 months to ensure the tooth has settled down and requires no further treatment. Prior to the definitive restoration, x-rays would be taken to check for healing. 

 Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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