Today we’re going to talk about the root canal process, why it often needs to be done, and also the reason why a crown is made and worn after the procedure. First, we’ll give a brief overview of what a root canal is.
A space inside of your tooth, called the pulp chamber, houses the root canal system as well as your pulp (the living tissue that keeps your tooth alive and well). Pulp includes blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues.
So an endodontic treatment (commonly referred to as a root canal treatment) is needed when your pulp tissue becomes inflamed or infected. Causes could include deep tooth decay, repeated procedures on one individual tooth (replacing large fillings on the same tooth, for example), or damage such as a crack, chip, or a fracture in your root. Gum disease can also be a reason you might need a root canal.
Endodontists are specialists who dentists will often refer you to for a root canal procedure. They have an additional two or more years of advanced training in diagnosis and treatment. They focus on saving your teeth.
Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the tooth and surrounding tissue. From there, once you are comfortable, a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl will be placed over the affected and surrounding teeth. The affected tooth will protrude through a hole, isolating it from the rest. This allows a sterile environment to perform the process.
A small access hole is then drilled through the biting surface (for an affected back tooth), or from behind the tooth (for an affected front tooth), which will allow access to the pulp chamber and your root canals.
The affected pulp tissue will be removed from the tooth with specially designed tools used to clean out your root canals as well as your pulp chamber. At the moment that all of the pulp and the affected nerve tissue is removed, your tooth in question can no longer feel sensitivity or pain. We will then disinfect the area with antiseptic as well as antibacterial solutions.
Root canal fillings will be selected that will fit snugly into your treated canals. A thermoplastic material will be used which is heated in order to be compressed into your root canals to seal them in conjunction with an adhesive cement (sealer) which will prevent your tooth becoming reinfected. Either a temporary or permanent filling material will be used to seal the access hole that your endodontist originally drilled.
Lastly, your tooth will need a permanent restoration — generally, a crown or a filling — to give structure to the tooth. This also provides a more complete seal to the top of your tooth, for added protection. This step is very important, because studies have shown that without a crown, it is likely that bacteria from the mouth could cause recontamination and result in another infection around your tooth.
Contact us at Bedford Dental Group if you suspect you’re in need of treatment. We can provide a prompt diagnosis and get your oral health back on track. We hope some of this is helpful.