The term endodontics describes the area of dentistry which concentrates exclusively on root canal treatment. Whilst a general dentist can carry out root canal treatment, provided they have the necessary skills and experience to do so, many of them opt to refer their patients who require this treatment to a Specialist or a dentist whose clinical treatment is restricted to this meticulous and often complex treatment.
All teeth have several canals, some more than others depending on the type of tooth. The canals contain nerves which can sometimes become infected and extremely painful. The root canal treatment carefully cleanses the canal and fills it to prevent it from becoming infected again. Most teeth that have received this treatment will require crowning following treatment to help protect the remaining tooth tissue. The Endodontist will have a range of specialist equipment at his disposal such as microscopes and dental loupes (magnification and lights) to help him locate and fill the infected canal/s. The treatment is an extremely precise procedure that requires a great deal of skill.
If you have been referred for root treatment or root canal therapy by your dentist or are just inquisitive about this treatment,
You may find the following information interesting.
Why do you need this treatment?
You may have knocked your tooth.
You may have fractured/cracked your tooth.
You may have a large cavity in your tooth which has progressed into or close to your nerve.
You may have recently changed a filling in your tooth.
You may have recently had a crown placed on your tooth.
Your dentist has advised root filling for a number of reasons.
What is a root filling?
When you smile, you only show part of your tooth, the crown. The rest of the tooth is anchored in your jaw, under the gum, by a root or roots. Within the roots are nerves which are nourished by a blood supply. If the blood supply is compromised, or the nerve is traumatised and/or infected, the nerve will die. The nerve sometimes dies slowly and sometimes abruptly. You may experience mild to excruciating pain and hot or cold/ biting sensitivities. Some people may develop an abscess which causes a swelling in their face.
The root canal procedure involves numbing the tooth similar to having a normal dental filling. Following good anaesthesia, the procedure is carried out totally painlessly. A plastic barrier is put on the tooth for your comfort and safety ( 90 – 95% of patients prefer the dentist using this barrier). The nerve is totally and painlessly cleaned out of the root canal within the root. The root canal is washed and dried and a plastic root filling is squashed tightly in the canal to ensure a successful result. Sophisticated equipment like digital x-ray, stereomicroscope and ultrasonic will be employed to ensure an accurate result is obtained. The tooth will either be closed with a temporary filling or a permanent core filling. Sometimes a post will be bonded into the tooth to help retain the core filling. You will then be referred back your dentist for a permanent restoration.