Monday, September 13, 2010

Root Canal Therapy

We pride ourselves in spending the time to properly educate our patients on the details of proposed treatment. I have often said that the better informed the patient is, the better the overall dental experience will become. Having said this, I would like to explain one of the most misunderstood procedures in dentistry, the root canal. It is needless to say that root canal treatment has a bad reputation! Perhaps because of the pain and discomfort of a damaged nerve that necessitated the root canal procedure in the first place. However the actual treatment is relatively painless because the pain can be controlled with a local anaesthetic during the procedure and pain control medication can be used before and/or after treatment. Modern root canal treatment is completely safe and usually very predictable.                         
Due to recurrent decay and/or some form of trauma the nerve inside the tooth can become damaged and inflamed. This inflammation is of two varieties; reversible pulpitis or irreversible pulpitis. The former will pass by itself after final restoration but the latter will require further treatment. Irreversible pulpitis usually leads to necrosis or the nerve dying which in turn, if untreated, will lead to infection of the jaw bone. Root canal treatment is the actual removal of the necrotic nerve and filling of the tiny canals in the root of the tooth where the nerve runs. We always utilize a certified Endodontist when such treatment is necessary to ensue the best outcome for our valued patients.
Lastly, it is very important to properly restore the tooth that has had root canal therapy in a timely manner to ensure continued success. this will usually require a post and a crown.