Root Canal Treatments are a procedure to save teeth that otherwise would need extraction. A root canal is carried out to remove bacteria and infection from the pulp chamber and root canal(s) when the pulp is damaged through inflammation and infection.
Bacteria’s are the most common cause of inflammation and infection of the pulp; they enter the pulp through tooth decay, fractures or trauma. A dentist will completely fill the canal(s) and pulp chamber with a solid filling material after removing the bacteria and this will help prevent any future problems.
Is the root canal procedure painful?
No. With today technological advances in the dentistry field, the root canal procedure is completely painless. We will administer a local anaesthetic, numbing the tooth and the surrounding area, and the patient will not feel a thing.
The patient also has the option to choose IV sedation, if they would prefer to be under for the whole pain free procedure.
What causes a need for a root canal?
There are 3 main causes that lead to a root canal:
- Tooth Decay
- Tooth fracture
Tooth decay is the number one factor that causes the need for root canal treatments. When the decay reaches the core of the tooth (known as the pulp chamber), you tend to feel sensitivity drinking cold and hot beverages. Depending how far the decay has progressed, our dentist may be able to remove the decay and have the cavity filled, without the need for a root canal.
In the worst case scenario, the decay will have progressed to the pulp chamber of the tooth, causing an infection (an abscess). When this occurs, there are only two options for the infected tooth- either remove the tooth or root canal treatment.
Tooth fractures are caused by:
- Clenching teeth
- Grinding teeth
- Chewing hard foods
Teeth can develop acute fractures which will let bacteria into the pulp chamber, potentially leading to an infected tooth. This can cause a lot of discomfort and pain to you, especially when you are eating (e.g. biting down on something hard can cause the fracture to further increase and will be very painful).
If you have received any trauma to your mouth (being hit, falling, car accidents etc) that causes your teeth to snap shut together, can damage the nerve and lead to an infection of the tooth –Please be aware that any damage done may not always be noticeable straight away.
Why do I need a root canal?
If you suffer from any of the above and have an infected tooth, the longer it is left, there will be a lower chance of success for a root canal, meaning the only other alternative would be to extract the tooth.Tooth extraction is not the preferred choice for the dentist as it can lead to further complications down the road for the patient.
For example, if the patient decided they were happy with not replacing the missing tooth after extraction, with a dental implant and crown, the rest of the patient’s teeth would start to move and eventually overtime would become wonky, due to the missing tooth (this will also cause bone loss in the jaw)– This would then require some sort of orthodontic treatment if the patient wanted nice straight teeth again.