Saving your tooth
Does your tooth ache?
If one of your teeth have suffered trauma it could affect the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth which is made up of nerves, blood and lymph vessels. If the tooth pulp cannot repair itself it will die, and if the pulp is infected it can spread through the rest of your tooth and surrounding tissue (your gums).
Removing infected pulp can save the tooth
Root canal therapy removes dead or infected pulp from the tooth, this will relieve toothache and save your tooth from needing to be extracted.
Contrary to popular belief, removing dental pulp does not kill the tooth, because once a tooth is fully formed it is able to function without its pulp.
Once the infected or inflamed pulp has been removed the root canals of your tooth will be cleaned, sterilised and then sealed with a filling material which will be able to prevent further infection. Depending on the complexity of your case and how long it takes to clear the infection, root canal therapy can take one to three appointments.
The process of root canal therapy:
1. The first step involves making an opening through the top of your tooth (the crown of the tooth) into where the pulp is found.
2. The second step is where the pulp is removed, the root canal cleaned and shaped so that it can be filled easily.
3. Depending on the severity of your infection, medications may be placed into the pulp chamber to prevent further infection.
4. Either one of two things can happen here: either your dentist will leave your tooth open to let it drain or a temporary filing will be placed until your next visit. More often than not, a temporary filling will be placed to protect your tooth until your second visit.
5. When you come back your temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber will be cleaned again and the root canal filled.
6. The final step involves the placement of a dental crown. This will cover your newly treated tooth and protect and strengthen it.
An advantage of root canal therapy is that if you look after the tooth like you would your other teeth it can last a lifetime—although it should be noted that, on average, a dental crown can last up to ten years. After root canal therapy we here at WhiteSmile Dental Care recommend that you come for regular check-ups to assess your overall oral health as well as the treated tooth and its dental crown.