Root canal treatment, is required when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth (the pulp) becomes damaged,through trauma or decay. It degenerates or becomes infected,The affected pulp is removed, the root canal is cleaned and then filled and sealed, to prevent any further infection occurring. Some front teeth have a single canal but many have two, three or more canals.
Root treatments carry a stigma but they nowhere near as traumatic as advertised. From a treatment point of view they do take a little more time but with care there is no reason why you need to fear them.
It is important to treat a damaged pulp because if left, it can become acutely infected, leading to an abscess, significant discomfort and if there is no drainage the tooth may need to be removed. A root filling can be completed by the dentist, you can also be referred to a specialist. The first step is to treat any acute infection, which may involve antibiotics but should also include if possible, the removal of the damaged pulp. An abscess may also be drained at this time. Rubber dam may be placed around the tooth to isolate it from the rest of the mouth. The dentist or specialist then uses a antiseptic irrigant and a selection of fine instruments are used clean out the root canal or canals, removing traces of the infected pulp, and shaping it ready for the filling. Radiographs will be taken to judge the length of
the root canals.
A temporary filling may placed and the tooth left to settle. At a further visit the tooth is checked and if the infection has cleared a permanent root filling is placed from the root canal to seal it up and prevent re-infection. Some dentists prefer to do the root treatment at a single visit, especially if the pulp was damaged rather than infected.Root filled teeth are often weaker than untreated teeth and sometimes require a crown to add extra strength and protection.