Root Canal Therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth becomes necrotic due to bacteria or trauma. In order to retain the tooth the infected nerve tissue and any decay need to be removed. The resulting space is filled with a material which will seal the tooth from further infection.
After having a root canal done the tooth will need additional restoration. Removing the nerve will make the tooth more brittle and more likely to fracture. Depending on how much tooth structure is lost due to decay and root canal access either a filling or crown may be necessary.
Root canal treatment has a high success rate and can maintain a natural tooth for many years. It is possible that a new infection will form that would require further treatment.
Reasons for Root Canal Therapy
Decay has infected the nerve of the tooth
Infection or abscess in bone around root tip
Trauma to tooth causing necrosis of nerve
Tooth restoration requires removal of nerve
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal can usually be completed in one office visit. Depending on which tooth need to be treated referral to an endodontist may be necessary.
After the tooth is anesthetized any decay will be removed and access into the nerve chamber will be made. The tooth will then be isolated in order to keep it dry and free from debris. The nerve is then removed from the canals using a series of instruments. Once the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, it will be sealed with an inert material called gutta percha.
Some sensitivity after treatment can be expected. This normally diminishes over a couple of days as the inflammation subsides.