Root canal treatment treats disorders of the pulp, commonly called the “nerve” of the tooth. It is a treatment that aims to eliminate pain and save a tooth with a diseased, infected or badly damaged pulp (nerve).
What is the Pulp?
The dental pulp is the name given to the soft tissues situated in a canal or channel that runs through the root of a tooth. It consists mainly of nerves and blood vessels. The main function of the dental pulp is to regulate the growth and development of the tooth during childhood. Once the tooth is fully formed, the main source of nutrition for the tooth comes from the tissues surrounding the root. Therefore, a tooth can function normally without its pulp and can be kept indefinitely. After root canal treatment, the tooth is pulpless but it is NOT a dead tooth.
How does the pulp become diseased?
The following are the most common causes of pulp damage…
- Deep decay
- Repeated dental procedures
- Very large fillings
- Severe gum disease
- Loose fillings
- Excessive wear of teeth
- Physical blow to a tooth
- Continual clenching or grinding
Regardless of the cause, the tooth pulp becomes irritated and infected. Bacteria grow within the tooth pulp causing pressure and pain sometimes accompanied by swelling of the face. Sometimes the deterioration of the pulp happens so gradually that little pain is felt. Either way, eventually the bacteria can destroy the pulp. As this happens, the bone surrounding the tooth may become infected and abscessed which may lead to the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth.
What Happens During Treatment?
Step 1: Relief of Pain
Removal of the infected/damaged pulp from the inside of the tooth. Measurement of the length of the root canals.
Step 2: The root canals are cleaned, shaped and sterilized to a form that can be completely sealed.
Step 3: The final stage is to seal the canals with a filling material to prevent further infection.
This treatment can take one or a number of visits, depending on the state of the tooth and the severity of the infection. Sedative dressings and temporary fillings may be placed inside your tooth between visits in order to settle the surrounding tissues and destroy any remaining bacteria.
Is there an alternative to RCT?
The only alternative method of removing the infection is to extract the tooth. Loss of a tooth can lead to many other complex problems in the region, which should be avoided.
For Example, if a back tooth is lost and not replaced, the following problems can occur…
- Drifting of adjacent teeth
- Further decay, food trapping and gum disease
- Over eruption of opposing tooth
- Jaw joint degeneration
- Jaw muscle problems
Will there be any pain?
RCT is a comfortable procedure and it involves no pain since the tooth will be anaesthetised during treatment.
Success of Treatment
Studies indicate that about 95% of cases heal successfully and uneventfully. However, because people have varied healing responses and some infections respond differently no guarantee can be given.
At Reva Dental Kilkenny we inform patients in advance if their tooth is considered less favourable and only treat teeth if there is a very good chance of it lasting a long time.
The final restoration of a root canal treated tooth is just as important as the root canal treatment itself to ensure long term success. The tooth needs to be restored to its original shape, and strength as soon as possible and this may involve the placement of a post and crown to achieve this.
At Reva Dental we use special automated cleaning instruments made of Nickel-Titanium to clean and shape the root canals in a fast but thorough technique to make the root canal procedure easier and quicker for our patients. We also offer a range of types of crowns depending on your particular needs, aesthetics and budget.