What is a Root Canal?
Endodontics is root canal therapy. Teeth are held into the jaw by roots. Front teeth normally have one root but teeth further back have more. At the core of each tooth is a soft mass of tissue called pulp. In a healthy tooth the pulp contains living fibres, nerves and a blood supply, extending into the root(s) through the canal(s). Decay or injury can destroy the living pulp. Because dead pulp lacks a blood supply, it is more probe to infection, leading hence to an abscess and toothache. Root canal treatment, also known as root filling or Endodontics means removing damage or dead pulp and filling the space left.
The remaining tooth can then be repaired.
What will my Dentist do?
An x ray can show the number and shape of the root canals and also signs of infection in the surrounding bone.Teeth can have a number of roots and some are easier to fill than others because of their shape. The length of the root canals is measure with an electronic apex locator. To keep root canals dry during treatment the dentist may stretch a thin sheet of rubber around the tooth, on a frame inside the mouth, this is called a rubber dam. You will be given a local anaesthetic and then an opening is made through the top of the tooth, down into the pulp. The dentist then uses narrow files to remove the dead pulp from the core of the tooth and from the root canals.
At this point, the dentist may put in a temporary filling and possibly also give you antibiotics if any infection has spreads beyond the tooth. If so, you will have to return for another appointment this will give the infection time to settle. In the next stage, the dentist fills the root canal(s). A filling is then placed in the remaining cavity in the top of the tooth. Or, if necessary, a crown can be placed on the top of the tooth, supported by a post placed inside of the filled root canal.