Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: such as deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If the pulp is inflamed or infected and is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
If you need a root canal treatment, one of our dentists or our Endodontist at GDNC (our specialist who treat disease or infection of the tooth pulp) will perform the treatment. Endodontic treatment can often be performed in one or two visits and involves the following steps:
- We will examine your tooth and take an x-ray of the tooth in question, under local anesthetic, the small protective sheet called a “dental dam”, is placed over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
- An opening in the crown of the tooth will be made and very small instruments will be used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for the filling.
- After the space is cleaned and shaped, the dentist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha”. The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling is removed before the tooth is restored.
- Once the root canal is completed, the patient will need to return to the Clinic to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it completely. If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, we may place a post inside the tooth before fixing a crown or any other type of restoration.
In case there is a doubt about the diagnosis, a CT scan of the tooth can show the exact 3D anatomy of the complex root structure and in combination with a surgical microscope proper treatment results can be achieved.