A successful root canal treatment can help save a tooth when its nerve becomes infected. Keeping your natural tooth rather than having it extracted prevents other teeth from losing their stability, becoming crooked and creating problems with the jaw.
An endodontic treatment (root canal) involves removing the infected, damaged or dead pulp from the tooth. The area inside the hard layers of the tooth is known as the canal, which is filled with a soft tissue called dental pulp. This tissue contains the nerves and blood vessels that allow the tooth to develop.
What causes a root canal? It begins with bacteria entering your teeth through deep cavities, cracks or damaged fillings. This infects the dental pulp and forms an abscess. Once this occurs, the infected pulp must be removed. An abscess can cause pain and inflammation.
A dentist can detect the abscess with an x-ray or by looking for specific changes to the tooth itself. An abscess will not go away without treatment. It can cause serious oral health problems and the infection can even spread to other areas of your head and neck.
The dentist begins with a local anesthesia. Then, to avoid bacteria in your saliva from contacting your tooth, a type of dental dam is placed around the tooth. A small hole is then made to gain access to the canal and the damaged pulp. Using precision instruments, the dentist removes the diseased or dead pulp by cleaning and widening the canal. The canal is then filled and sealed, and the tooth is finally closed with a temporary filling. A crown is normally suggested to provide a complete seal to the top of the tooth. This is critical to preventing bacteria from entering the tooth and causing reinfection.
Root canal treatments usually have a high rate of success, but in some cases, an additional canal procedure is required. This is typically the result of further infection or inflammation. The retreatment involves removal of all filling materials and sealants. The canal is then thoroughly cleaned and shaped. Then, as before, a filling or crown is placed on the tooth to completely seal it.
Depending on your private insurance, root canal treatment may or may not be covered. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is not reimbursed by Quebec healthcare.