The goal of root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment or RCT for short) is to save a tooth that has been damaged badly due to injury, disease or decay. Millions of teeth each year are saved from extraction by having root canal treatment. Majority of people want to save their teeth, as natural teeth generally function better than artificial teeth. Your own tooth is stronger and more efficient for biting and chewing. Also cleaning and maintenance of a natural tooth are much easier than caring for complex dental solutions.
Causes leading to root canal are:
- Breakdown of a filling or crown
- A deep cavity
- Gum Disease
- Crack or chip in the tooth
- Extreme wear
- Extensive dental work to the tooth
Symptoms may include pain, sensitivity to hot or cold, tooth discolouration and swelling, or soreness in the gums surrounding the tooth. When the nerve in the tooth becomes severely inflamed or infected, root canal treatment is needed to save the tooth.
To improve the chances of success, root canal treatment should be started as soon as possible. All affected roots inside the tooth must be treated. Front teeth (known as incisors) have one or two nerve canals. Premolars (know as bicuspids) typically have one or two nerve canals. Molars usually have three or four nerve canals. If the nerve of the tooth is not treated quickly, severe pain and infections at the roots of the teeth (abscesses) can occur. If an abscess was to go untreated, the infection can damage bone surrounding the tooth. Avoiding root canal treatment will lead to having the tooth removed.
What to expect when having root canal treatment:
- The dentist will numb the tooth needing treatment
- A special rubber barrier is placed to isolate the tooth and to make the visit easier on the patient
- The nerve chamber is accessed, the nerve removed and space cleaned
- The special filling material is carefully placed into the space
- The access point is sealed with a filling
- A crown is required over the filling to support tooth strength and durability
Root-filled teeth need to be cared for just like any other teeth. We recommend 6-monthly routine dental check-ups and cleaning along with diligent home oral hygiene, to help the treated tooth last a long time.