Root canal treatments are needed when you have developed an infection inside the tooth – normally resulting in severe pain.
Root canal treatments can often be avoided by regular dental check ups – if the dentist can see damage to the tooth that could lead to a root canal infection they can treat it quickly before the infection becomes a serious problem.
St George’s Dental regularly provides root canal treatments to our patients, normally over a couple of appointments to ensure the best outcome possible.
In complex cases a patient may need to be referred to a specialist endodontist for root canal treatment.
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal infection causes:
Root canal treatment is an endodontic procedure that targets the inflamed, damaged or non-vital pulp inside the tooth.
The pulp is the “living” part of the tooth, which consists of sensitive nerves and blood vessels. In cases of infection or inflammation, the pulp can become very painful and if left untreated can allow an abscess to form at the root tip or even allow bacteria to enter the jaw bone. This condition is frequently treated with root canal therapy (RCT).
A root canal treatment removes the infected tissue from the roots of the tooth beneath the gums. The canals are then cleaned and shaped before being ready to be filled.
Signs you need a root canal treatment:
Root canal symptoms can include sensitivity to hot and cold, tenderness when biting or touching the tooth, swelling in the gums and a constant throbbing pain.
Root canal treatment process:
1. A latex rubber sheet called “rubber dam” is placed around the tooth being treated to prevent bacteria from entering your mouth. This will also protect your healthy teeth and surrounding tissues from the disinfectants and instruments we use during the procedure. Most people who have experienced the use of a “rubber dam” will attest to its comfort and prefer it over the old-fashioned way of cotton wool and suction.
2. Using an operating microscope, a small access opening is carefully made in the top or back of the tooth to enable the endodontist to gently remove the infected pulp using specially designed endodontic instruments.
3. Once the pulp is removed, the canals are cleaned, reshaped and disinfected ready for the filling. This is exactly the same way a cavity is cleaned and shaped on the top of the tooth and the same principle applies, just deeper within the root.
4. The next step is to fill the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a tiny cone-shaped rubber-like material called “gutta-percha”. Gutta-percha is placed to ensure the root canals are completely sealed to prevent re-infection. Alternative biocompatible materials such as “MTA” or Mineral Trioxide Aggregate may also be used depending on the requirements of the case. A temporary filling is placed into the access opening at the end of each appointment unless a permanent filling is chosen to be placed at the final visit.
5. The final stage often involves a more permanent restoration (e.g. crown). This will usually be determined by your endodontist and general dentist depending on the requirements of the tooth.
After your tooth has been successfully treated, it is important you promptly schedule an appointment with your dentist so any temporary filling can be replaced with a permanent restoration (filling) or for the construction of a crown or other restoration such an inlay, onlay or veneer.
A crown will replace the missing structure and support the remaining tooth. It will also prevent future cracks. If you only have a small amount of tooth missing, a conventional filling may be all that is required to get your tooth functioning and looking the same again. If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the root/tooth for further support.
When do you get referred to an endodontist:
While it is possible for general dentists to carry out endodontic treatments, in complex cases we recommend specialist care to make absolutely sure quality of outcome is not compromised.
About St George’s Dental
The dentists at St George’s Dental pride themselves in the highest level of patient care.
Our patients come from all around the local area for their dental treatments. If you live in the following areas – we would love to become your dentist.
Lower Plenty | Greensborough | Bellfield | Bundoora | Briar Hill | Eaglemont | Eltham North | Heidelberg | Heidelberg Heights | Heidelberg West | Ivanhoe | Ivanhoe East | Macleod | Montmorency | Rosanna | Viewbank | St Helena | Watsonia | Watsonia North | Yallambie