A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. The procedure often referred to as root canal is called endodontic therapy.During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will become infected and abscesses may form.
Usually, root canals are recommended or needed when the tooth’s nerve and pulp become irritated, inflamed and infected due to deep decay within the tooth. The pulp inside the tooth can also become infected with bacteria because of repeated dental procedures on a tooth, or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.
Without treatment, the infection or decay can become severe enough that the tooth has to be removed. If your dentist has recommended the treatment, here is a step-by-step guide of what you can expect during and after the procedure.
- The dentist will first administer a local anaesthetic to numb the tooth. After the tooth is numb, the dentist or endodontist places a dental dam, a small sheet of rubber that isolates the tooth to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
- The dentist makes a small access hole on the surface of the tooth and removes the diseased and dead pulp tissue with very small files. They will then clean, shape and decontaminate the hollow area, using tiny files and irrigation solutions. The tooth is then filled with a rubber-like material called guttapercha to seal the canals completely.
- After root canal therapy, the tooth is “dead”. Symptoms generally resolve after root canal therapy.
- Your dentist will close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling, while you wait for the permanent filling or 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 filling more stable.
After the Procedure
Taking good care of your teeth and gums is a must after a root canal. You might need to schedule an additional visit with your dentist to X-ray the treated tooth and to make sure that all signs of infection are gone, in addition to regular dental cleanings and exams. It’s important to keep up a good oral care routine at home. With care and attention, a tooth treated with a root canal can stay healthy for the rest of your life.
If you have more questions and wish to speak with one of our friendly dentists in Blackburn, please call us on 03 9878 1597 today!
Root canal treatment carries risks. Before beginning treatment, please seek an opinion from a qualified health professional.