Q. What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment (RCT) is a special procedure used to save a tooth that has had its canals infected and diseased due to decay, fracture, trauma or a cracked filling that has been left untreated.
The nerve inside each tooth provides nutrients and sensation to the tooth. If bacteria manage to get inside the nerve chamber, they start to destroy the nerve tissues and the tooth will eventually become infected or an abscess will form. The nerve of the tooth must be removed as bacteria begin to grown within the tooth resulting in pressure and pain. RCT is done over several appointments to allow time for antibacterial dressings to disinfect the canal. The procedure involves removal of the nerve tissue and the cleaning and sealing of the root canal to protect it. X-rays are takne during the procedure to determine the number, shape and precise length of the canals. This is important to ensure that all canals are thoroughly disinfected.
Ideally a crown in then placed on to the tooth to protect it and help make it stronger as root filled teeth are generally more brittle after the removal of the nourishing blood supply through the pulp. Difficult cases may require referral to an endodontist (specialist in root canal treatment) to achieve the best possible outcome.