Endodontics (Root Canal)
A root canal (endodontics) treats the very centre of the tooth where the inner nerve lies– called the inner pulp. An infection within the inner pulp of the tooth can cause the tooth to rot away. Root canal treatment essentially prevents infected teeth from needing to be extracted completely.
What is a root canal?
A root canal is a treatment that falls into endodontics – a specialism that focuses on the inner pulp (inner nerve) of the tooth. Infections occur in this area of the tooth for many reasons (like tooth decay, a leaking filling, or trauma to the tooth). The tooth will begin to rot until it is removed or falls out if treatment is not performed. A root canal is the only treatment that can be used to revert the effects of an infection by removing areas of the dental pulp which have become infected.
When and why would i need a root canal?
Teeth are prone to infections in the tooth canals – located inside the tooth – when these areas become exposed. This can be caused by anything from an improperly fitted filling to a fracture or trauma. If you are experiencing pain, sensitivity, or looseness from any tooth, your dentist will normally take an x-ray to confirm where the infection is.
Note, do not postpone any kind of treatment. The pain from an infection of the dental pulp can start to feel better as the pulp dies. This can be very misleading for patients. It does not, for example, suggest that the infection has healed, and your symptoms will only start to return at a later stage. You will need to undergo root canal treatment as soon as the infection has been diagnosed, as this will ensure you get the best possible outcome from the treatment.
How is a root canal performed?
You may be referred to a specialist endodontist if the treatment is considered particularly complicated. Whoever performs the procedure, they will begin by administering a local anaesthetic to numb the area and prevent any pain during the treatment.
The canals within the tooth occur from the crown (which is the biting surface of the tooth) and anchor the tooth into place by attaching to the jaw bone. These canals house the dental pulp and can be accessed by removing the crown.