Root canal (Endodontics)
Root canal procedures fall under endodontic dentistry, which focuses on treating the inside of the tooth.
To understand how a root canal works, you need to know the structure of a tooth. Firstly our teeth are covered with enamel, a hard, semi-translucent, highly mineralized substance. Beneath our enamel is a hard, porous, bone-like layer called dentin that protects the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is what is extracted during a root canal and is made up of soft tissue, blood cells and nerves. Pulp is also connected to the roots of your teeth and is where the procedure gets its name.
A root canal is needed when the pulp becomes infected, which can occur due to a fracture or a cavity in the tooth that has let in bacteria that causes decay. Symptoms of an infection include toothache, discolouration, sensitivity, swelling and pimple-like bumps that appear on your gums near the affected tooth.
Instead of completely removing the tooth, our dentists are able to save and restore your tooth to its original form. Impressions of the patient’s mouth will be taken to create a crown, which will cover the affected tooth after the root canal. A local anaesthetic will be used to numb the tooth, before a small drill is inserted to make an opening in the top of the tooth. The infected pulp will then be removed and the inside of the tooth will be washed out. Once the tooth is clean and dry, it will be filled with a rubber-like filling. This is only temporary as when the permanent crown has been made, it will be placed on top of the tooth to complete the restoration.
Although a root canal is not a procedure most patients would look forward to, it is necessary to prevent further spread of decay in the mouth and eliminate the pain caused by the infected roots of the tooth. Our dentists understand any anxiety patients may have about surgical dental procedures and always do their best to make our patients feel at home in the dentist’s chair.