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An alternative to tooth extraction, root canal therapy may be performed. It involves the removal of infected nerves and tissue from the root of the tooth and filled with a biocompatible material.

The roots usually become infected due to a large cavity which eventually infects the pulp in the tooth and makes it way to the roots and surrounding bone. Before applying a filling, the dentist cleans the root system. Due to this therapy, the tooth becomes brittle and becomes prone to fractures, and may become discoloured as well, which is why a core and full coverage crown would be recommended.

Treatment Preparation

Recommended for

  • Teeth that have gross decay to the pulp and root canal system but are restorable.
  • Any condition prior to suggesting tooth removal; dentists always recommend keeping the natural teeth.

Before

Radiographs are taken before any treatment is rendered to ensure tooth in question is the one causing the infection and to assess restorability of the tooth. Pulp tests are usually performed to confirm the diagnosis.

How

After establishing that root canal therapy is indicated, the dentist will anesthetize the area and cover it with a rubber dam to prevent any contamination of the tooth and keep the area dry for the duration of the procedure. The dentist will then create an assess through the infected tooth and the pulp is removed from the chambers and canals of the tooth. The chambers and canals are widened to provide sufficient room for a root canal filling, and consequently filled. For patients requiring two appointments, in the first sitting, the tooth is prepared and a temporary filling is cemented, at the second appointment, the permanent filling would be placed.

Treatment Details

Materials

Root canal fillings use a range of materials, and the specific materials used vary from clinic to clinic. The most commonly used materials include tooth sealant, zinc oxide-eugenol, resins, calcium hydroxide and glass ionomers. Most commonly used materials for the obturate the canals include solids, semi-solids and pastes, depending on the type of cavity.

Anesthesia:

  • Local

Procedure duration

  • From 2 to 4 hours.

What to expect

Post procedure care

Patients should avoid eating solid food on the tooth.

 

Important To Know

Potential risks

  • Reinfection
  • Structural damage to the tooth
  • Nerve damage

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