The prospect of root canal treatment is hardly appealing, as anyone who has previously experienced it will tell you. A procedure used to fix and save decaying or infected teeth, root canal treatment involves the removal of the damaged tissue from the inside of a tooth. Once the pulp underneath the layers is exposed, there is a high chance of inflammation and possible necrosis (pulp death) – as well as severe damage or pain to the tooth.
Root canal treatment can require one or more appointments, and can be carried out by a dental practitioner or endodontist (root canal specialist). Firstly, a full oral examination (including radiographs) will be carried out and if necessary, the use of a local anaesthetic. A latex sheet is positioned around the tooth to ensure the area is kept dry and clean, followed by an opening made at the top of the tooth. Next, the pulp is removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals are then cleaned and shaped in a way that will allow them to be securely sealed. Once the root canals are filled and sealed, the opening in the top of the tooth is filled with a temporary seal – then with future appointments, the progress of the root canal and filling can be monitored and adjusted should further treatment be needed.
Even though the pulp has been removed, your tooth will still be alive due to being nourished by its surrounding tissues. Once permanently restored, as long as proper oral care is maintained, the tooth has a high chance of keeping healthy. Your dentist will provide you with the appropriate aftercare following the operation, but you should also visit your dentist regularly to ensure longevity of your teeth and good oral hygiene.