Millions of teeth are treated and saved every year with root canal procedures. Prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness when chewing, discolouration or swollen gums (abscess) are signs this treatment is necessary. It is most often caused by deep decay, cracks, injury or repeated work on a specific tooth.
Inside every tooth is soft tissue called pulp that contains blood vessels and nerves. If the pulp becomes infected and damages the nerves, it must be removed from the canals it lives in. The canals are shaped, cleaned, filled and sealed for protection.
Follow up procedures. Restoration.
Without a nerve, the tooth becomes brittle and susceptible to fracture. Placing a crown on the tooth is one option to protect and restore it to full function.
If a crown is not used, the treated tooth may discolour. This is of no medical concern and tooth whitening is a widely used and excellent solution.
This illustration shows the steps involved in performing a root canal. When the dental pulp becomes infected inflammation and pain will result and over time, an abscess may form at the base of the pulp. Time for a root canal! Once you arrive at your appointment we first prepare the area and numb it so there is no pain experienced during the procedure. There are a number of ways we can achieve this and if you have any dental anxiety or fear of needles, be sure to notify our staff in advance. There are other options to help make your experience painless one.
First we drill a small access hole through the biting surface of the affected tooth. This allows us to gain access to the pulp chamber where the majority of the procedure will be performed.
Any diseased or dead pulp tissue will be removed from the affected area with specially designed instruments. This is not painful the area is already numb and the tissue being removed is either dead or dying meaning nerve endings are likely already dead which necessitated the procedure in the first place. Once the pulp, along with the nerves contained in it, are removed, the tooth itself can no longer feel pain. The canals are disinfected and prepared for the next step.
The canals are now shaped with tiny flexible instruments allowing us to prepare the canal fillings with a special sealer. The canals are washed and cleaned again to remove any remaining root canal debris prior to sealing them. Usually a rubber-like material is used to fill the canal space. This special thermoplastic material is heated and then compressed into and against the walls of the root canals to seal them. Sealing the canals is critically important to prevent them from becoming reinfected with bacteria.
Once complete a filling material will then be placed to seal the access hole that was made to treat the canals completing the treatment.