Root Canal Therapy
Endodontic or root canal therapy is a very common procedure. It is a long-standing, safe and highly effective treatment for teeth where the disease process has progressed to affect the crown of the tooth, the dental pulp and ultimately the tooth’s supporting bone tissues.
Successful endodontic therapy helps save your teeth. It enables you to retain your ‘natural’ dentition, which is important for both aesthetic and functional purposes. The treated tooth continues to receive support from the surrounding tissues and may be expected to last just as long as any other natural tooth.
The Tooth and it’s Surrounding Tissues
Your teeth are not solid objects; they have a space at their centre containing blood vessels and nerves called the dental pulp. This pulp tissue nourishes the tooth. The pulp can become infected due to deep decay, trauma, or gum disease.
Because the pulp is totally encased in hard tissue it will not heal itself; antibiotics just reduce the symptoms for a short period of time. Without treatment the infection will spread to the bone surrounding the tooth.
The purpose of endodontics or root canal therapy is to cleanse the infected pulp chamber and root canals, then place an inert, biocompatible, filling. This filling prevents bacteria re-entering the tooth to cause another infection.
Endodontic therapy usually involves more than one appointment. At your first appointment, local anaesthetic is given to numb the area, and an access cavity is created in order to reach the infected pulp chamber. The pulp chamber and infected root canals are cleansed and reshaped. If the treatment is being carried out over more than one visit, medication is placed in the tooth to help eliminate bacteria. Your tooth is then sealed with a temporary filling. At your second appointment your tooth will be free from bacteria and an inert, biocompatible filling material is placed in the cleansed space.
Dr William Scott BDS MSc M Clin Dent Endodontist is an expert in this field. He treats patients on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information about Dr Scott please visit our Team page.