What is Root Canal treatment?
Endodontic therapy more commonly known as root canal treatment is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases or injuries to the dental pulp. The pulp, which some people call the nerve is the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels.
What causes the pulp to die or become infected?
When the pulp is injured, diseased, and unable to repair itself, it becomes inflamed and eventually dies. The most frequent causes of pulp death are extensive decay, deep fillings, trauma such as a severe blow to the tooth, cracks in the teeth and periodontal or gum disease. When the pulp is exposed to bacteria from decay or saliva that has leaked into the pulp system, infection can occur inside the tooth and if left untreated, can cause infection to build up at the tip of the root, forming an abscess. Eventually the bone supporting the tooth will be destroyed, and pain and swelling will often accompany the infection. Without root canal treatment the tooth will eventually have to be removed.
What are the symptoms of a diseased pulp?
Symptoms can be mild to severe pain, momentary to prolonged on exposure to hot or cold or on chewing; or the condition may be pain free. It should be noted that the radiographic(x-ray) examination may or may not demonstrate abnormal conditions of the tooth and sometimes there is radiographic evidence of disease in the absence of pain.
What is the success rate?
The treatment is very predictable with success rates between 90% and 95% . Those in the failure group may still be amenable to retreatment or surgical treatment to save the tooth, although no treatments success can be guaranteed. The prognosis does depend on the specifics of the case and that, without good oral hygiene and a sound restoration following root canal treatment there may be an increased risk of failure.
What does it involve?
The tooth is initially anaesthetized to ensure a pain-free procedure. A small pilot hole is made through the tooth to allow access to the root canal chamber. The pulp tissue is painlessly removed using special instruments. The root canal is cleaned, shaped then filled using an inert material. The root canal system literally contains miles of microtubules interconnected like a spiders web. Here at the British Dental Clinic we use cutting edge technology including ozonated water, ozone gas and lasers to facilitate the disinfection of these hard to reach areas. The tooth is then restored as soon as possible with a final restoration which may be a simple filling or a crown depending on the amount of sound tooth structure remaining.
How many visits?
The procedure is usually carried out in one to two visits.