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What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment is typically considered for deep caries or a serious tooth fracture. Such damage to the tooth usually results in major tooth pain. This is because the underlying pulp is affected. The pulp, which consists of nerves and blood vessels, needs to be removed in order to have enough anchorage for a crown. In these cases, your dentist may recommend root canal.

 While the very term brings some out in a cold sweat, the procedure does not have to be traumatic with the help of an experienced dental expert. In this mini guide, we take a look at the procedure to learn more about how it is performed, and what you should expect.

Everything You Need to Know About Root Canal Treatment

The first thing to note about root canal treatment is that the procedure differs depending on whether the affected tooth is permanent (adult) or primary (developing). As primary teeth have not yet fully developed, the roots of the tooth need to reabsorb in order to erupt. Using an insoluble filling can result in damage caused to developing teeth.

 For permanent teeth, the procedure is performed as follows:

  • Your dentist will identify deep caries on an x-ray. On examining further, the cavity is shown to be present within the pulp of the tooth. At this point, your dentist will advise that root canal is the best choice for treatment.
  • The caries will be removed, and an opening will be made in the pulp chamber.
  • The nerve will be carefully removed, using a fine instrument especially designed for such procedures because canals can be as fine as a strand of hair. The nerve canal is then reamed to the tip of the root.
  • Thicker files are then used in a sequence, until the entire root cavity is cleaned. The root canal will then be rinsed and dried.
  • The root cavity will then be filled, usually using a bio-inert material.
  • Once the canal is filled, final restoration can be done on the tooth, which is usually a post-core system for anchorage of a crown.

 A single molar tooth may have up to four root canals and the same procedure needs to be performed on all canals. Often, the procedure is done over a few visits to your dentist. In some cases, you may be prescribed an antibiotic to clear up any infection in the tooth. Temporary fillings may be used between dentist visits.

 For primary teeth, the procedure is performed as follows:

  • Your dentist observes cavities near the pulp of the tooth. Two options are then available: pulpoptomy and pulpectomy.
  • Pulpoptomy: if the caries stretch into the pulp canal but the nerves are not too badly damaged, this option will be considered. The caries are removed, and the pulp chamber is opened and cleaned, but the nerve canals are not filled. Special medication is applied into the open canals, before the tooth is restored as normal.
  • Pulpectomy: if the pulp is affected by the caries, this option will apply. The caries are removed, pulp chamber cleaned and canals reamed. The canals are then filled with a soluble material before the tooth is restored as usual.

At Gateway Dental, all procedures are done in a safe, friendly environment that is suitable for adults as well as children. Putting off a major treatment such as root canal can lead to abscesses and other problems, not to mention serious pain. Contact us today to learn more about root canal treatment in Durban, or to make your booking at our world-class practice.