A root canal repairs a badly decayed or infected tooth. When a cavity develops in the center of the tooth, the nerve and pulp must be removed, and the inside of the tooth must be cleaned and sealed. Without this procedure, surrounding tissue can become infected and lead to the formation of abscesses.
What is it?
Root canal therapy is conducted if the pulp of the tooth becomes heavily infected. In this case, both the pulp and the nerve require removal and the interior of the tooth is cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection and damage.
What should I do to prepare?
There are no special preparations required for root canal therapies. It is recommended to practice and maintain healthy oral hygiene habits.
What happens during the process?
A local anesthetic is applied near the tooth of interest. A rubber dam is then placed around the tooth to keep it dry from saliva. A hole is drilled into the tooth, and the pulp (bacteria and debris as well) is removed using root canal files. Multiple files of increasing diameter are placed into the access hole and are pushed down to the very bottom of the tooth to scrub the entirety of the root canal. The debris is then flushed out using water or sodium hypochlorite. The cavity is then restored using a sealer paste, called gutta-percha, to fill the canal. Further restoration can be completed with a filling and potentially a crown if the tooth has a large filling.
What are the risks and potential complications?
New infections may arise due to complications, which include, unexpected root canals in the tooth with one or more uncleaned in the cleaning process, cracks in the root of a tooth, an ineffective restoration, and breakdown of the sealing material which can also lead to infection.
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