Root Canal Treatment

When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a root canal treatment lets you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. We here at Semiahmoo Dental Centre believe that the best option is always to save your natural tooth. Keeping your tooth helps to prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth which can be more costly.

What is root canal treatment?

root-canalRoot canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is the process of removing infected, injured or dead pulp from your tooth. The space inside the hard layers of each tooth is called the root canal system. This system is filled with soft dental pulp made up of nerves and blood vessels that help your tooth grow and develop. When bacteria (germs) enter your tooth through deep cavities, cracks or flawed fillings, your tooth can become abscessed. An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection in the pulp. If pulp becomes infected, it needs to be removed. An abscessed tooth may cause pain and/or swelling. If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems. Root canal therapy is also indicated if a crown is to be replaced on a tooth which previously had endodontic treatment. Old crowns are assumed to be ‘leaky’ and often have let bacterium into the root system. Studies recently have confirmed the need to re-treat the root prior to placement of a new crown to insure that there is not an infection problem with an old root canal under a new crown. The root is the foundation of the restoration and it is always the best choice to build a new crown over a solid and clean foundation.

How a root canal treatment is done

  • The dentist gives you a local anesthetic (freezing).
  • To protect your tooth from bacteria in your saliva during the treatment, the dentist places a rubber dam around the tooth being treated.
  • The dentist makes an opening in the tooth to reach the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
  • Using very fine dental instruments, the dentist removes the pulp by cleaning and enlarging the root canal system.
  • After the canal has been cleaned, the dentist fills and seals the canal.
  • The opening of the tooth is then sealed with either a temporary or permanent filling.

Tooth restoration after root canal treatment

After a root canal treatment, your tooth has to be restored to look, feel and work as much like a natural tooth as possible and this is completed with either a permanent filling or a crown. The choice of restoration will depend on the strength of the part of the tooth that’s left. A back tooth will likely need a crown because chewing puts a great deal of force on back teeth. If there is not enough of the tooth left, posts may be used to help support the crown.

Post Endodontic Instructions

Root Canal therapy is most often completed in one appointment, although some cases may require more time to finish. In multiple appointment cases, a temporary restoration is used to close the opening access, so it is important to protect this softer type of restoration from the forces of chewing by using the opposite side of the mouth. If a permanent restoration is placed and the anesthetic is worn off, make sure the filling does not feel high when biting. Root canal therapy approaches 98% success in teeth with early intervention.

Sometimes after a root canal, the tooth may still be a bit sore, and it can take some time for the inflammation and infection to subside. Root canal procedures remove the infection from inside the tooth and hopefully the body’s immune system will clear up the area in the surrounding bone. It is not standard for increased pain and swelling, if this should happen, please call the office right away. It is common to be given a prescription for antibiotics or anti-inflammatories if the situation requires this treatment.

We always advise our patients to consider a crown after root canal therapy, as a tooth tends to dry out and become brittle. A crown preserves the integrity of the tooth structure.

Contact Us for More Information About Root Canal Treatment – We Would Love to be your White Rock Dentist

We are conveniently located in White Rock/South Surrey, BC. If you would like more information about Root Canal Treatment or to schedule an appointment with us please call 604-536-6711.

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