Reva Dental Blog

Category Archives: Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment or RCT?

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
  • Trauma
  • 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.

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Step 2: The root canals are cleaned, shaped and sterilized to a form that can be completely sealed.

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Step 3: The final stage is to seal the canals with a filling material to prevent further infection.

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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.

After Treatment

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.

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New Technology

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.

Call Reva Dental on 056 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

What is a Root Canal

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth will also become infected and abscesses may form. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

“Root canal” is the term used to describe the natural cavity within the center of the tooth. The pulp or pulp chamber is the soft area within the root canal. The tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal.

A tooth’s nerve is not vitally important to its health and function after the tooth has emerged through the gums. Its only function is sensory — to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The presence or absence of a nerve will not affect the day-to-day functioning of the tooth.

Why Does Tooth Pulp Need to Be Removed?

When a tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp is damaged, it breaks down and bacteria begin to multiply within the pulp chamber. The bacteria and other decayed debris can cause an infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. An abscess occurs when the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to an abscess, an infection in the root canal of a tooth can cause:

  • Swelling that may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head
  • Bone loss around the tip of the root
  • Drainage problems extending outward from the root. A hole can occur through the side of the tooth with drainage into the gums or through the cheek with drainage into the skin.

What Damages a Tooth’s Nerve and Pulp in the First Place?

A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, and/or large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or trauma to the face.

What Are the Signs That a Root Canal Is Needed?

Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you may need a root canal include:

  • Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
  • Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
  • A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums

What Happens During a Root Canal Treatment at Reva Dental?

A root canal will require one or more office visits. The first step in the procedure is to take an X-ray to see the shape of the root canals and determine if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist will then use local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. Anesthesia may not be necessary, since the nerve is dead, but your dentist will generally anaesthetise the area to ensure you are relaxed and at ease.

Next, to keep the area dry and free of saliva during treatment, your dentist will place a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the tooth. An access hole will then be drilled into the tooth. The pulp, along with bacteria, the decayed nerve tissue and related debris is removed from the tooth. The cleaning out process is accomplished using root canal files. A series of these files of increasing diameter are each subsequently placed into the access hole and worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals. Water or sodium hypochlorite is used periodically to flush away the debris.

Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it is sealed. In some cases your dentist may decide to wait before sealing the tooth – for instance, if there is an infection, your dentist may put a medication inside the tooth to clear it up. In most cases however the tooth will be sealed on the same day it is cleaned out.

Next, to fill the interior of the tooth, a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta percha is placed into the tooth’s root canal. To fill the exterior access hole created at the beginning of treatment, a filling is placed.

The final step may involve further restoration of the tooth. Because a tooth that needs a root canal often is one that has a large filling or extensive decay or other weakness, a crown or may need to be placed on the tooth to protect it, prevent it from breaking, and restore it to full function. Your Reva dentist will discuss the need for any additional dental work with you.

How Painful Is a Root Canal?

Root canal procedures have the reputation of being painful. Actually, most people report that the procedure itself is no more painful than having a filling placed.

What Should One Expect After the Root Canal?

For the first few days following the completion of a root canal, the tooth may feel sensitive due to natural tissue inflammation, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This sensitivity or discomfort usually can be controlled with over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (e.g. Advil). Most patients can return to their normal activities the next day.

Until your root canal procedure is completely finished — that is to say, the permanent filling is in place and/or the crown, it’s wise to minimize chewing on the tooth under repair. This step will help avoid recontamination of the interior of the tooth and also may prevent a fragile tooth from breaking before the tooth can be fully restored.

How Successful Are Root Canals?

Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last a lifetime. Also, because the final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be obvious to onlookers that a root canal was performed.

Alternatives to a Root Canal

It goes without saying that saving your natural teeth is the best option, if possible. The only procedural alternative to a root canal is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant or removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. However these alternatives are generqlly more expensive than a root canal procedure and require more treatment time and additional procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.

Root Canal Prevention

Since some of the reasons why the nerve of a tooth and its pulp become inflamed and infected are due to deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth and/or large fillings, following good oral hygiene practices (brushing twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and scheduling regular dental visits) will reduce the need for a root canal procedure. Trauma resulting from a sports-related injury can be reduced by wearing a mouthguard.

Ask your dentist’s advice on root canal procedures; you can call Reva Dental in Kilkenny on (056) 7763786 to schedule your appointment. You may be eligible for a free check-up; see www.revadental.ie

5 Things Your Smile Says About You…

Feeling happy? Go ahead and smile — but know that you may be telling others more about yourself than you think.

The meaning of a smile changes depending on the social context, studies show. Some smiles bring benefits, but others reveal hidden weakness. Humans smile more depending on who they’re talking to, and those smiles can hint at their futures.

Without further ado, here are five things your smile tells others about you.

1. Will your marriage last?

Wedded bliss may be linked to an easy grin. According to a study published in 2009 in the journal Motivation and Emotion, the way people smile in old photographs predicts their later success in marriage.

In one study, psychologists rated people’s college yearbook photos for smile intensity (muscle stretching around the mouth and eyes). They found that none of the biggest grinners divorced later in life. In comparison, 25% of the most straight-faced experienced divorce.

A second study of childhood photos of people over age 65 found a similar link. Among those with the biggest smiles in the childhood pictures, 11 percent later experienced divorce, compared with 31 percent of the least smiley.

A bigger smile may reflect a happy-go-lucky approach to life, the researchers reported. Or bigger smiles may attract a happier partner, and lead to a happier relationship.

2. How fertile are you?

A healthy smile can reflect your overall health, multiple studies show. For women, smiles can even reveal fertility.

Women with gum disease take an average of two months longer to conceive than women without, according to research published in 2009 in the US Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gum disease is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, respiratory disease and kidney disease. The link appears related to increased inflammation that accompanies gum disease, the researchers found.

3. How much earning power do you have?

A teenager’s grin can predict how much cash he or she will rake in as an adult. According to a study published in 2012 in the journal Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, happy teens earned 10 percent more income than average at age 29, while gloomy adolescents earned 30 percent less than average at that age.

Happiness is likely linked with fewer worries and less stress, study researchers reported. Less worry means more mental space to focus on job-related tasks.

4. How powerful are you?

Smiles aren’t just about happiness. They’re also a sign of social status. A 1998 study in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that high-powered people, as well as people interacting with others of equal power, smiled when they felt happy.

In contrast, people with less social power than the person they were interacting with smiled regardless of their own emotions.

The findings suggest that powerful people have the privilege of smiling when they please, whereas those with less power are obligated to smile in order to ingratiate themselves.

5. How good a fighter are you?

The link between smiles and power holds in the physical realm, as well. In one study, professional mixed martial arts fighters who grinned in photographs taken the day before a match were more likely to lose than fighters who presented a tough mug for the camera.

Fighting is about dominance, and smiles may inadvertently signal that a person is less dominant, hostile or aggressive, researchers reported online Jan. 28, 2013, in the journal Emotion.

Even untrained observers caught on to the message in the smiles, the same study found. People viewed a fighter as more trustworthy and agreeable, but less aggressive and less physically dominant, if they saw him smiling versus posing with a neutral expression.

The takeaway? Smiles grease the social wheels in most situations, and happiness is usually a boon. But if you’re going head-to-head in a contest of dominance, put your game face on.

(via Huffington Post)