Everyone has probably heard of a nightmarish story about root canals and root canal treatment, but why are they so common and why have they been associated with such pain and have gained such a negative review by so many people?
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment or therapy is essentially a filling which extends from the top biting surface of the tooth through the centre of the tooth where the nerve (pulp) sits, all the way to the tip of the root using different types of materials. The aim is to thoroughly clean the tooth of the harmful bacteria and then achieve a great seal of the filling material on the top of the tooth and the bottom of the tooth! Achieving this seal and cleaning out the tooth however can be quite difficult. Through magnification, x rays, electronic devices (apex locator), and simply a dentist touch of feeling the tooth; the tooth's intricate pulp canals can be navigated and cleaned. The space inside the tooth which holds the nerve is cleaned using files and chemicals shaping the space to perfectly fit the filling material within the nerve space. A filling material is cemented in the prepared canal to seal the root tip.
Many practices still use the traditional hand filling system which can add unnecessary hours to the procedure and is not as effective. At Dentistry On Coolum, on the Sunshine Coast, we are proud to use the latest ProTaper Next® rotary file technology to not only reduce your appointment times in half, but reduce your costs too. This filing system enables us to navigate through intricate anatomy which may otherwise go missed, leading to unsuccessful treatment. It is important that your dentist is pedantic on all the key steps to achieve the best results.
Finally, the outside of the tooth is filled and restored with a well sealed restoration. In the majority of cases, the best option to provide the tooth with strength and protection after the root canal treatment is completed is a Crown or Onlay. This whole process can take anywhere from a single visit to multiple visits to make sure the tooth is cleaned and shaped thoroughly to improve long term success of the treatment.
Is the Treatment painful?
If a procedure is associated with the nerve, is that why it’s often associated with pain? No, in fact, our aim when you visit the practice for root canal treatment, is to provide a pain free experience, through local anaesthetic and by working patiently but quickly and thoroughly, we hope to complete the procedure without any pain during and minimise the pain after the procedure. With anything, it’s technique based and our dentists are highly trained to deliver a pain-free positive experience. Why root canal treatment often gets a bad rap, is due to the situations in which they are necessary. Often patients present with a large abscess or very severe toothache or a very heavily broken down tooth and the only option to save the tooth is a root canal.
Why do I need Root Canal Therapy?
Reasons which you may need to have root canal therapy is any time which the nerve in the tooth is irreversibly damaged. Indications for root canal therapy include:
- Deep decay affecting the nerve (Irreversible damage to the nerve)
- Deep fillings (A chronic irritation to the nerve)
- Trauma (Exposing the nerve)
- Severe cases of hypersensitivity (The nerve in the tooth reacts disproportionally to air, water or physical touch but has not responded to other methods of treatment)
- Severe Periodontal disease (Root canal treatment in combination with periodontal treatment)
- Severe wear (It may be indicated to complete root canal therapy prior to building up the teeth)
- Dental abscess (Chronic or acute. An acute abscess may include mild or severe swelling and extreme pain. A chronic abscess usually has no pain, a bad taste in your mouth, and is usually found on routine examination and radiographs)
- Reinfected previously treated root canals
The difficulty of root canal therapy varies drastically from tooth to tooth, so it may be necessary to refer to a root canal specialist (endodontist) to complete the treatment using advanced equipment and high magnification microscope.
Is there another option?
Often the option in these situations is between having root canal treatment or having the tooth removed. Ultimately, saving teeth, relieving pain, restoring the function of the teeth, and meeting your expectations are our main goals. If root canal therapy is not the preferred solution, our dentists can discuss alternative solutions to replace the missing tooth such as dental implants or a dental bridge.
The best way to avoid a root canal treatment is impeccable oral hygiene and regular dental visits for exams and cleanings to monitor your teeth and to make sure any potential problems are noticed and dealt with early, so you don’t end up needing Root Canal treatment.
If you are looking for root canal treatment on the Sunshine Coast, please feel free to call our office on 07 54461616 and our lovely staff will help make an appointment for you.