Root canal therapy is an effective treatment solution to repair and save a damaged tooth instead of removing it.
Root canal treatments usually fail due to incomplete removal of pulp tissue and bacteria. Our new “Eddy” system replaces the ultrasonic tip that we have been using. The cavitation breaks down cell membranes and flushes out the tight small spaces that other instruments can’t reach. We’re always trying to get better at what we do!
What is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is a treatment process whereby infected pulp (tissue within and beneath the visible part of the tooth) is removed to save the original tooth. In cases of severe dental damage or disease, infection in the pulp can lead to significant pain. Using root canal therapy, we can remove the infected tissue while preserving the tooth itself.
A subject of much conversation in Noosaville and throughout the Sunshine Coast, we believe that root canal therapy can help patients with significant issues localised to one tooth. Root canal therapy must be performed by an experienced dentist with the utmost care to ensure there is no residual infection, which some people believe can lead to general health issues.
Why is it called root canal therapy?
A root canal is the term used to describe the natural cavity of your tooth in which the “soft” tissue or pulp and nerve are housed. During root canal treatment, the damaged or infected dental pulp and nerve are removed, with the remaining cavity cleaned and sealed.
Because the treatment focuses directly on the sensitive nerve, root canal therapy has a history of being known as one of the more painful and invasive dental procedures. However, advances in local anaesthetics and dentistry technology mean that most people can undergo root canal therapy pain-free.
Causes and consequences of root canal tooth damage
There can be numerous causes that can lead to a substantially damaged or infected tooth. These include:
- Deep, untreated dental decay
- Decay beneath a previous filling
- Continual tooth grinding or bruxism
- Long-lasting cracks in the teeth
- Gum disease
If left untreated, the infected tooth pulp will lead to significant further complications, for example:
Spread of infections
As infected pulp loses the ability to fight infections, bacteria is able to grow and spread further in the tooth and mouth. When enough bacteria grow in the chamber of the tooth, they can cause what’s known as an extremely painful abscess which requires endodontic treatment.
If the infection spreads beyond the tooth’s root, it can result in the erosion of parts of the jawbone. This puts the structural integrity of your jaw at serious risk.
If the tooth is too far gone with respect to damage or injection, it will need to be removed. This will not only affect your ability to bite and talk, as well as the appearance of your smile, but you’ll likely need to undergo further costly treatment to replace the tooth with dentures, bridges or dental implants.
What are the signs I might need root canal therapy?
- Pain in the tooth
- Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold beverages or food
- Discolouration of the tooth
- Swelling in the nearby gums, bone and lymph nodes
How does root canal therapy work?
Root canal therapy involves several steps that often require multiple visits to your dentist to achieve a successful outcome. While your treatment may vary from the step by step process outlined below depending on your case, generally root canal therapy involves:
- An x-ray of the tooth is taken to assess the damaged tooth, before local anaesthetic is applied to ensure patient comfort.
- An opening is made to access the interior tooth cavity and any signs of old fillings, decayed tooth, infected pulp/nerve and debris are removed.
- Assuming the remaining tooth is healthy and strong enough to stay in your mouth, the interior cavity is then cleaned, shaped, filled and sealed. Most dentists use a material called gutta percha and this filling and sealing process ensures that bacteria cannot re-infect the tooth canals.
- To ensure the functionality of the tooth, a restoration, for example, a crown, is placed on the tooth.
- If your treatment requires multiple visits, a temporary filling will be used to protect the opening between visits before the permanent filling and seal are applied.
What should you expect after root canal treatment?
Following treatment, your tooth will likely feel sensitive from natural tissue inflammation, however this is commonly managed through non-prescription pain medication. Many people recover relatively quickly and can resume normal eating and drinking routine in the days after. Root canal procedures are known to have a success rate of roughly 90%.
Root canal therapy at Noosa Parade Dental
The best way to tell if you would benefit from root canal therapy is coming in to see a member of our team.
Contact us to book your appointment today!