Endodontic treatments are procedures that treat the interior of the tooth or seek to preserve its health and integrity, in order to maintain the natural dentition, the bone and gums that surround it, as well as its functionality. It helps preserve a natural smile, eat comfortably and, with proper care, the tooth can last like the rest of the dentition.
What Does an Endodontic Repair Involve?
The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth or molar that contains nerves, blood vessels, and provides nutrition to your tooth or molar. You can be infected if you have:
- a deep cavity
- Repeated interventions that disturb this tissue
- A chipped or cracked tooth or tooth
- An injury to the tooth (even if there is no visible crack or break)
If left untreated, the tissues around the root of your tooth or molar can become infected. If this occurs, you will likely feel pain and swelling, and an abscess may form within the tooth or molar and/or in the bone around the root end of the tooth or molar in question. An infection can also put you at risk of losing your tooth or molar, as bacteria can damage the bone that connects it to your jaw.
Can I Receive This Treatment During My Regular Checkup?
Your dentist will need to arrange a follow-up visit, or may refer you to a dentist who specializes in the pulp and surrounding tissues. This specialist is known as an endodontist.
I should wait?
A root canal treatment usually requires 1 or 2 visits to the dentist’s office. You will have little or no pain, because your dentist will use a local anesthetic so you will not feel the procedure. When it’s over, you should no longer feel the pain you felt before the procedure.
Before starting treatment, your dentist:
He or she will take x-rays to get a clear view of your tooth or molar and the surrounding bone.
They will numb the area around you and your tooth or molar so that you are comfortable during treatment.
He will put a thin sheet of latex rubber on your tooth or molar to keep it dry, clean and protected from viruses, bacteria and fungi that are normally in the mouth.
During treatment, your dentist:
It will create an opening at the top of your molar or tooth.
The nerve will be removed from inside the tooth or molar and from its root areas, known as root canals.
It will clean inside the tooth or tooth and each root canal. Your dentist may treat the tooth or molar with medicine to kill germs.
He or she will fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them against future infection.
He will put a provisional filling in the tooth or molar until the final restoration, such as a permanent filling or a crown that will be placed at the first opportunity.
After endodontic treatment:
Your tooth or molar and the area around it may be sensitive for a few days. You can talk to your dentist about how to ease any discomfort you might feel.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection spreads. Use them as directed, and follow up with your dentist if you have any problems taking them.
You will need to arrange a follow-up visit after endodontic treatment. At this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary filling and replace it with a regular filling or crown that protects your tooth or molar from further damage. A metal or plastic post may also be placed into the root canal to ensure that the filling materials stay in place. This will help hold the crown, if you need one.
How long will the root canal filling last?
With proper care, your restored tooth or molar can last a lifetime. Make it a priority to brush two minutes twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, clean between your teeth daily, and visit your dentist regularly to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy.