Root canal treatment is a procedure that is performed when a tooth is infected or damaged. It involves removing the infected or damaged tissue from inside the tooth and replacing it with a filling material. Although root canal treatment has been around for a long time, there is still some confusion and misconceptions about the effectiveness of the treatment. In this post, we will explore the effectiveness of root canal treatment and how it can help save a damaged tooth.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that is performed to remove the infected or damaged tissue from inside the tooth. The procedure is done under local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. The dentist then creates a small hole in the top of the tooth and removes the infected or damaged tissue from the pulp chamber and canal system. Once the damaged tissue has been removed, the dentist cleans the inside of the tooth and fills it with a biocompatible dental filling material. Finally, a dental crown or a filling is placed on top of the tooth to protect it from further damage.
Why is Root Canal Treatment Necessary?
Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp tissue inside the tooth is no longer healthy. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Tooth decay: Tooth decay can cause a cavity to form in the tooth, which can allow bacteria to enter the pulp tissue.
- Trauma: Trauma to the tooth, such as a crack or a chip, can damage the pulp tissue inside the tooth.
- Gum disease: Gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth, which can make them more susceptible to infection.
- Large fillings: Large fillings can weaken the structure of the tooth, making it more susceptible to damage and infection.
What are the Benefits of Root Canal?
Root canal treatment offers a number of benefits, including:
- Saving the natural tooth: Root canal treatment is a way to save a damaged or infected tooth. This is important because we always try to retain our natural teeth where possible.
- Pain relief: Root canal treatment can help relieve the pain associated with an infected or damaged tooth.
- Preventing further infection: By removing the infected tissue from inside the tooth, root canal treatment may prevent infection from spreading to other teeth.
- Restoring the function of the tooth: Root canal treatment can restore the function of the damaged or infected tooth, allowing you to eat and speak normally.
Procedure of Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is typically performed by a dentist or endodontist (a specialist in root canal therapy) and usually involves the following steps:
- Examination and Diagnosis: The dentist may first examine the tooth and take X-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection. Based on this information, they will diagnose whether root canal treatment is necessary.
- Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is administered to numb the tooth and surrounding area, so the patient does not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
- Access to the Root Canal: The dentist will make a small hole in the top of the tooth to access the root canal.
- Removal of Pulp: The dentist will remove the infected or damaged pulp from the root canal using special tools called files. They will then clean and shape the inside of the root canal to prepare it for filling.
- Internal Filling: The dentist will fill the root canal with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. This material seals the canal and prevents bacteria from entering.
- External Filling: After filling the root canal, the dentist will place a permanent filling in the hole made in the tooth.
- Crown Placement: In most cases, a dental crown is placed over the tooth to protect it and restore its function. The dentist will prepare the tooth for the crown by removing a small amount of the outer tooth structure to allow the crown to fit.
The entire root canal treatment typically takes 1-3 appointments, depending on the severity of the infection or damage. After the procedure, the patient may experience some soreness or sensitivity, but this is usually managed with over-the-counter pain medication and should subside within a few days.
How Effective is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment is an effective way to save a damaged or infected tooth. However, the success of treatment depends on a number of factors, including the severity of infection, the location of the tooth, and the skill of the dentist performing the procedure.
It is important to note that the success of root canal treatment also depends on how well the tooth is cared for after the procedure. It is essential to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly, and visiting the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. Failure to properly care for the tooth after root canal treatment can lead to further infection and the need for additional treatment.
What are the Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment?
If a tooth is severely damaged or infected, the only alternative to root canal treatment may be extraction. However, extracting a tooth should be considered a last resort, as it can lead to a number of other problems, including
- Difficulty eating and speaking
- Shifting teeth
- Bone Loss
- Difficulty Chewing
- Speech Problems
Overall, root canal treatment is a highly effective and successful procedure that can save a damaged or infected tooth from extraction. It is important to seek prompt treatment if you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, as delaying treatment can lead to more extensive damage and a lower success rate for root canal therapy, if it is needed.
If you are considering root canal treatment at Yonge & Eglinton, consider Town Smiles Dental. Our dedicated, friendly and professional team looks after your smile with the utmost care! Contact us today!