Root canal therapy (RCT) is a dental treatment used to replace damaged, inflamed, diseased, infected or dying tooth pulp in your affected tooth’s root canal system. RCT can save teeth damaged by infection and inflammation, thus avoiding potential abscesses, tooth loss, extraction and replacement with either dentures or implants.
So what are tooth pulp and root canal systems?
“Tooth pulp” is the soft tissue is made up of nerves and blood vessels, and is located in your inner tooth’s root canal system.
Your “root canal system” is made up of a natural hollow cavity inside your teeth called the coronal chamber. This contains and protects your tooth pulp. The root canals are tiny hollow tubes that run off from the bottom of the coronal chamber down into the tooth roots.
There are usually one or two root canals that run down to the end of each of your tooth roots. The blood vessels and nerves housed inside them, travel through the root canals down into the root ligaments. These connect up with your body’s main blood circulation and nervous system.
Infected tooth pulp
When your tooth pulp becomes bacterially infected and inflamed, it is usually the result of an untreated cavity (caries) that has penetrated through the outer tooth surface, and into the root canal system of your affected tooth.
If left untreated, the bacteria can continue developing throughout the affected tooth, which may result in an abscess, gum infection and tooth loss.
How are root canals treated?
Essentially, RCT is very similar to a filling treatment, except that it treats teeth affected by cavities and infection that have penetrated much deeper than usual.
Your dentist treats inflamed or infected tooth pulp by first removing it entirely from the root canal system. Afterwards, the coronal chamber and root canals are carefully cleaned, shaped and prepared so that they can be filled with natural latex dental material called gutta-percha. Gutta-percha fills in and seals off the root canal spaces seamlessly.
Finally, the tooth is restored and strengthened with a crown or filling so that is fully functional and has a natural appearance.
How long do root canal-treated teeth last?
As far your affected tooth goes after receiving RCT, as a fully developed tooth, it can survive pulp free because of the surrounding connective tissue that continues to nourish, protect and support it. And with proper oral health and hygiene care, root canal-treated teeth may last a lifetime!
If you have any questions regarding root canal treatment, feel free to call our friendly team here at Healthy Smile Dental on 3219 9806 (Underwood) or 3273 3220 (Calamvale), and we will do our best to assist.