1What is a root canal?
Inside each tooth is a tube that runs from the end of the root to a chamber inside the crown. This is the root canal and inside the canal is the tooth’s blood and nerve supply, known as the ‘pulp’. The incisor and canine teeth normally have one root and one root canal. Premolar teeth can have one or two roots, and molars two or three, with up to five separate root canals.
2Why do I need root canal therapy?
Bacteria can get into this chamber either from dental decay or directly from the mouth if a filling is lost. Once bacteria are established, blood supply to the nerve diminishes and the tooth begins to die. When this happens the only way to save the tooth is to remove the infection and dying nerve – a procedure called root canal therapy. Unfortunately antibiotics alone can’t kill the bacteria and the only option, other than root canal therapy, is to have the tooth extracted. Sometimes root canal therapy is also used to save a tooth with a large filling or crown, or one that has suffered trauma.
3What’s involved in root canal therapy?
In root canal therapy, the pulp and nerve tissue are removed from inside the root canals. The canals are then thoroughly cleaned, then filled and sealed with a special rubber material.
4Why do I need to see an endodontist?
An endodontist is a dentist who has undergone specialist training to perform root canal therapy to a higher standard. They work with special instruments usually under magnification to ensure even the most complicated cases are thoroughly and effectively treated. Your regular dentist can perform simple root canal procedures, but for more involved cases the best outcome will be achieved by an endodontist. Once your root canal therapy is successfully completed by your endodontist, you can then return to your regular dentist to have the tooth restored as planned.