What is root canal therapy?
Teeth are hollow in the middle and this hollow is called the 'pulp chamber'. The tooth 'pulp' is comprised of blood vessels and nerves and provides the tooth itself with nutrients and allows the tooth to sense hot and cold. Occasionally this tooth pulp can become infected or inflamed - this is generally caused by damage to the tooth like a crack or a chip, decay that has penetrated deep into the tooth or even multiple dental procedures on the tooth. When this infection or inflammation occurs, root canal therapy is needed. Root canal therapy also prevents future problems developing, such as the infection spreading to the bone of the jaw, causing bone loss.
With this procedure - also called 'endodontic treatment', the infected pulp is completely removed, the tooth's pulp chamber is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and an inert substance called gutta percha is used to fill and seal the pulp chamber. Finally, a filling or a crown is fitted to the tooth.
The removal of the pulp does not harm the tooth. Although as described above the pulp supplies nutrients to the tooth, the tooth can in fact get all the nutrients it needs from tissue around its root. The pulp's main role is in the formation of the tooth during childhood.
Indications of a possible infected or inflamed tooth pulp include...
- pain, either when chewing/biting or 'spontaneous'
- tooth sensitivity (especially to hot or cold food/drink)
- swelling of the gum, or of the face
- the tooth coming loose
Some cases may not present any symptoms at all and are often diagnosed via x-ray or other tests at a regular dental check-up or a visit for another procedure.
Most root canal therapy can be completed over one or two appointments and is generally performed under a local anaesthetic. Caboolture Dental Group uses the latest Rotary Mechanical filing systems for both single and multiple canal teeth.