Root Canal (Endodontics)
Purpose of Treatment
Endodontic (root canal) treatment involves removing the pulp (nerve) from an inflamed, infected or dead tooth so as to prevent it from becoming a source of continuing infection. The tooth’s interior is prepared, cleaned, and finally filled with a non-irritating material. Root canal treatment may take up to 4-5 visits, depending upon the degree of difficulty of the case, but is normally complete in 2-3 visits.
Endodontic surgery is sometimes necessary when root canal treatment alone will not eliminate infection. Using a local anaesthetic, an incision is made in the gum to expose the root tip; infected tissue is removed; the root canal opening is sealed and finally the gum tissue is stitched back into position. After root canal treatment, some recall visits are necessary in order to assess the healing process.
Root treated teeth will require a permanent filling and/or crown following treatment.
Risks of Treatment
Occasionally it is impossible to find or follow a canal and treatment may have to be discontinued and the tooth extracted. Perforation or penetration of the surrounding tissue with endodontic instruments may occur. If this does occur it may be repaired surgically or the tooth may be extracted. Instruments used for endodontic treatment are very fine and on occasion may separate (break) in the tooth. If they cannot be removed, the tooth may be extracted. There are few cases, which do not respond to endodontic treatment. For these, extraction is the only alternative. Although treatment is relatively painless, discomfort may occur. If it does it will be managed with the utmost consideration. Teeth that have received endodontic treatment may be somewhat weakened because of the loss of tooth substance and therefore may require additional dental treatment (crown).
Alternatives to Treatment
If root canal treatment is not performed, infection may occur or progress causing pain and destruction of bone around the root of the tooth. The alternative to root canal treatment is the removal of the tooth. Contact one of our Dentists today at our Donegal dental clinic if you have any questions.