Why do I need a Root Canal and what is it?
In certain cases, when a tooth gets infected through various of ways (cracks, deep cavities etc) the tooth becomes infected and "abscessed". Sometimes trauma as well can cause the tooth to die and discolouration may occur.
When the pulp is infected it will cause tooth pain (sometimes enough to wake you up at night) and this pain can radiate to our jaw, sinuses, lymph nodes or ears. There can be pain when biting down or sensitivity to heat, and the tooth can be sensitive to cold that it can linger after the source has been removed. There can be an abscess in the area above the tooth that looks like a "pimple" on the gum; that "pimple" can be filled with fluid and pus which can be tender to touch. In most trauma cases the tooth starts to darken in colour in result of the tooth dying. In rare cases there can be no symptoms that show up, but x-rays can tell if the area might need a root canal. The root canal treatment itself is treated usually within 2 appointments.
The first appointment is opening up the tooth and cleaning out the pulp chamber and removing the nerve. This is done with complete freezing and isolation in the localized area. After the nerve is removed, files are placed to measure the canal length (using the machine to confirm where the apex is) as well as x-rays to confirm the length of each canal (depends how many roots there are). After this, paper points are placed in to dry up the area and prep it for the medicine to be placed in the pulp canal. After the pulp canal is all filled with medicine, a temp material is placed over top which completes the first appointment.
The second appointment involves removing the temp material and the medicine. Then we fill the chamber with something called gutta percha. Once that is placed in the chamber a permanent restoration is placed on top. In some cases, some patients down the road are recommended to get crowns. Most root canal treated teeth are usually more brittle and susceptible for cracks and fractures later on.