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Principles of root canal therapy

29 Oct 2014  |  No Comments

People will often wince at the slightest mention of root canal treatment. This does not have to be! I myself have had root canal on one of my teeth (performed by Dr Choo, of course). The same tooth has been still going strong after that treatment performed over 10 years ago!

Root canal therapy

Sequence of events of root canal therapy: the patient presented with an intensely sore lower back tooth with an old large filling. The final endodontic result was good, but the temporary filling imaged will need to be replaced.

We do not simply perform root canal on every tooth with decay. It is a diagnostically and patient-driven plan of action. Each tooth is supplied by nerves and blood vessels which give it vitality. This is what your tooth feels when you eat ice cream and have a very cold drink. Due to a number of factors, such as extensive decay or physical trauma, the nerve in the tooth can die. Bacteria/ “bugs” can then invade the space in the tooth and cause a mini-infection, which may result in soreness when eating and sporadic and unexplained aches that last for minutes-to-hours especially when triggered by cold and hot foods. A simple filling will not do in this case!

Dental textbooks will say that endodontic treatment, or otherwise known as “root canal therapy” has very specific goals. These include:

  1. Accessing and cleaning of the root canals physically to the apex (bottom) of each root
  2. Irrigating the canals with strong antimicrobials to eliminate as much bacteria as possible
  3. Permanent sealing of the root canals to prevent further bacteria from getting in

All this mumbo jumbo means a lot to us, but not much to you! Most importantly for you, root canal treatment means that you can save and keep your tooth for longer. In general the only other alternative is to have the tooth extracted and replaced prosthetically, either with bridges, dentures or implants. These are generally final resort modes of treatment. By saving and keeping your root-treated teeth, you can keep these other alternatives open down the track.

Root canal is very technique sensitive and will require at least 2 appointments to finish. In addition, root-treated teeth often become more brittle as the infected nerve and blood supply to the tooth is removed. As a result, most root-treated teeth will require either a large filling or a crown on top to brace the tooth together and give it the best chance of survival in the mouth.

For all your general root canal needs in Sydney, feel free to contact us during business hours or send in an online form!

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