Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). It’s also known as ‘endodontics’.

The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth. This can happen after:

  • Tooth decay
  • Leaky fillings 
  • Damage to teeth as a result of trauma, such as a fall 

A tooth is made up of two parts. The crown is the part of the tooth that’s visible in the mouth. The root extends into the bone of the jaw, anchoring the tooth in position.

Teeth also consist of:

  • Enamel – the hard outer coating
  • Dentine – a softer material that supports the enamel and forms most of the tooth 
  • Cementum – a hard material that coats the root’s surface
  • Dental pulp – the soft tissue at the centre of the tooth

Infection

The pulp is made up of soft tissue that includes nerves and blood vessels. The pulp will begin to die if it’s infected by bacteria. Bacteria can then multiply and spread.

The procedure

To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed.

This can be done by either removing the tooth (extraction) or attempting to save it by removing the bacteria from the root canal system (root canal treatment). After the bacteria have been removed, the root canal will be filled and the tooth sealed with a filling or crown.

Aftercare

Root canal treatment can leave the tooth fragile. It’s important to look after your teeth when recovering from root canal treatment. Evidence shows placing a crown on top of a tooth that has had root canal treatment will protect the tooth from future fracture and also increase the success rate of root canal treatment. 

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