A root canal treatment is the process whereby the dentist opens the chamber or canal(s) which holds the dead or dying nerve in the tooth. The dentist cleans and disinfects the canal(s), which used to contain the nerve, and then fills up the area with a specific combination of materials.
A certain number of x-rays before, during and after treatment are used to diagnose the condition of the tooth and monitor the progress of the treatment.
Root canal treatment may be recommended if the pulp of the tooth, which is the main source of blood supply, becomes diseased or dead (non vital).
This treatment can provide an effective way of saving a tooth that might otherwise require removal.
What causes pulp damage or death of the tooth?
- A cracked tooth
- A deep cavity
- An injury to a tooth, such as a severe knock to the tooth, either recent or in the past.
Once the pulp is infected or dead, if left untreated, pus can build up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain.
How long does a root-treated tooth last?
Your treated and restored tooth/teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. Because tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth, good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are necessary to prevent further problems.
As there is no longer a pulp keeping the tooth alive, root-treated teeth can become brittle and are more prone to fracture. This is an important consideration when deciding whether to crown or fill a tooth after root canal treatment.