Root canal therapy is required when the nerve of a tooth is adversely affected by infection or decay. Saving the tooth requires that the interior part of the tooth, which consists of living tissue called pulp and the nerves, is removed, along with any bacteria and decay there may be. The remaining gap is filled with special materials which help to restore the tooth’s full function. Root canals are done to save teeth that would otherwise die and have to be extracted. Tooth extraction is ultimately more expensive and causes problems for the adjacent teeth, making root canals the preferred treatment option recommended by dentists.
Common situations when root canals are recommended: The tooth is sensitive to hot and cold Severe toothache A pimple or abscess on the gums Tenderness and/or swelling
Root canals usually require one to three appointments. Complete X-rays are always taken and reviewed before treatment begins. A local anesthetic is then administered and something called a dental dam, which serves as a protective sheet, is put in place to help saliva from entering the area being operated on. A small hole is created in the surface of the tooth and the pulp is removed completely. The space is then shaped, cleaned and filled with a material called gutta-percha, which is a type of latex sap that is secreted by certain species of trees found in Malaysia. It’s topped off with cement to ensure a proper seal of the root canal. A temporary filling is then placed in most cases, which restores tooth functionality before the permanent restoration is done. A crown is usually placed during the final visit.