Root canal therapy is a treatment modality that will save diseased or injured teeth. The alternative to endodontics is extraction. Typically, a severely decayed tooth or a tooth with target filling will begin to ache. The pain might be intermittent at first and over time progress to a constant dull throbbing pain or a severe ache that might felt an all the teeth an the affected side. Sometimes there is no pain and an abscess might be discovered on a routine x-ray.
The pulp is a soft tissue that is located inside the tooth structure. It contains nerves, arteries, veins and lymph tissue. It is contained in the canals located in thin tube like spaces in the roots and in the pulp chamber located within the crown of the tooth.
This images shows how the progression of decay. If not treated lead to destruction of the tooth’s hard tissue and pulp. If treated in the beginning of the decay process, a small filling will resolve the problem. If allowed to continue root canal therapy would be necessary.
When the pulp is diseased or injured and unable to repair itself, it becomes infected. Left untreated, the pulp will die and become necrotic. Pulp can build up at the root tip forming an abscess that can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth. Endodontic treatment is the removal of the diseased pulp tissue, which will enable the body’s defense system to repair the damage caused by the infection.
Root canal therapy normally takes two to four visits to complete.
STEPS OF ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
- A local anesthetic is used so the procedure will be pain free.
- An opening is then made through the top of the tooth is to the pulp chamber.
- The pulp is removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged, and shaped to a form that can be filled and sealed latter.
- A temporary filling is placed in the opening in the tooth to seal it between visits. There can be some discomfort in the area of the tooth for a day or two following the initial visit.
- Occasionally the pain can be more severe.
- During the next stage of treatment, the temporary filling is removed and the root canals are filled and sealed. This is the completion of root canal treatment.
Following completion the tooth will need to be restored. Due to the large amount of tooth structure usually last from decay and old fillings. The preferred restoration is a crown. A post may be placed into the root to give additional structure support.