Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy, or endodontic therapy, is a treatment used to save or repair a tooth affected by infection or decay. The name of the therapy comes from the root canal, which is the name of the cavity inside each of your teeth. It's used to save a tooth when the tissue inside it is affected by bacteria and decay. All of it is removed, and space is filled with a unique dental material to restore the full function of the tooth.
Reasons for getting root canal therapy are one of the following:
- When the pulp is diseased and injured and cannot repair itself anymore
- When bacteria manage to enter the cavity and infect the tissue and bone
- Because of an injury or trauma to a tooth
Root canal therapy is the perfect choice when a tooth is going to die. Most people feel that a dying tooth is best removed, but the reality is different. They fail to realize that removing it is costly and that it can cause significant problems to nearby teeth. Root canal therapy is always the better choice in such a case.
The therapy has a high success rate, and the results will remain for the rest of your life. In some rare occasions, you will have to get additional treatment if the infection happens to return.
How Is Root Canal Therapy Performed?
Root canal therapy can be performed in no more than three sessions, while it usually takes only one. Furthermore, there are three steps to the whole procedure:
- You are under local anesthesia while they make a hole in the tooth and remove the diseased pulp. After that, they have to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the hollowed space.
- The dentist fills the hole with a rubber-like material which is cemented to fill and seal the root canal completely. When this is done, the tooth is effectively dead as the nerve inside it is completely gone.
- The dead tooth is now very fragile, and through time, it will become very brittle. That’s why the last step involves placing a crown over the tooth for protection.
All of this is usually done in only one appointment, but some patients require more. It depends on the severity of the condition and the type of root canal. The procedure is entirely painless as you're under local anesthesia the whole time. If you feel some pain, know that it's coming from the inflammation and not the procedure. The later tenderness of the tooth is perfectly normal, but it will subside over time as the inflammation subsides as well.
The dentist will explain how to care for your new tooth using proper dental hygiene to extend its life. Regular dental visits can also be of great help here.