Root canal treatment refers to the cleaning of the root canals of the tooth using root canal tools and disinfecting mouth rinse. After this, the root canals are tightly filled with the material designed for it. Finally, the tooth is filled or crowned.
Root canal treatment is necessary mainly because of infections in the root canals. This is generally due to severe caries or cavity of the tooth. Sometimes dental gangrene of the pulp tissue can happen because of an accident involving teeth. In these cases, root canal treatment is also needed.
Infections on the tip of the root canals are most often symptomless. They are often accidentally discovered during an X-ray. A root canal infection will not heal with antibiotics. When the tooth’s nerve-vessel tissue is infected and consequently damaged, the body’s bloodstream is not connected to the root canals. Because microbes are in the root canals, the correct dental treatment is root canal treatment.
Adequate time and protection of the tooth are prerequisites of successful root canal treatment
It generally takes 1-3 treatment appointments to perform root canal treatment. Adequate amount of time should be reserved for the treatment. The treatment is painless when local anaesthetic is used. A key component for successful root canal treatment is isolating the tooth from the rest of the mouth for the duration of the treatment by using a dental dam which is a protective sheet that is set around the tooth. In order for the treatment to be successful, proper treatment of all root canals is necessary, as is a tight closure of the tooth after the root canal treatment with either a plastic filling, ceramic filling or a crown.
The recovery of the tooth is monitored after the root canal treatment
Check-ups of the tooth are a part of root canal treatment. Usually a control visit is after a year from the completion of the treatment at the latest. If there has initially been an infection around the roots, an X-ray is taken to monitor the recovery of the infection. It is important to monitor the recovery because infections on the tip of the root canals can be symptomless. Even if there are no symptoms, infections of dental origin can still cause harm to the overall health. They can, for example, impair the stability of diabetes and cause harm to the cardiovascular system.
Sometimes root canal treatment requires special expertise
Root canal treatment is a part of a dentist’s basic training. However, root canal systems are at times very particular. That is why a dentist or dental specialist who specialises in root canal treatments and tools specialised for root canal treatment are sometimes needed for a successful root canal treatment. Sometimes the tooth may be in such bad condition that root canal treatment will not help. In these cases, a dental extraction is needed.
The development of materials and tools used in root canal treatments has grown greatly in the last 15 years. Through information, expertise, correct tools and materials, we can treat cases that we could not treat before.
Duodecim Käypä hoito -guideline on root canal treatment was published in June 2016. It is available at www.kaypahoito.fi
Do you need more information?
If you suspect that your teeth might be in need of root canal treatment, book an appointment for dental examination. In the examination we chart your oral health and plan the best treatments for your individual need. If you have any questions or you want more information of the treatment, please be in touch.