Root Canal Treatment
The aim of Root Canal Treatment is to save your tooth!
Our tooth has a hard outer layer that protects a small soft tissue area referred to as the “pulp”. The pulp contains a combination of tiny blood vessels and nerves that provides sensation and fluids to the tooth from within the jaw, it is what keeps the tooth alive.
When a tooth is not well taken care of, diseases and injury can severely affect the health of the pulp within that tooth, sometimes the damage can be irreversible.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
When you have been diagnosed by the Dentist of an infected dead tooth, we may recommend Root Canal Treatment as a means of saving your tooth. It is a common dental procedure that involves clearing the infection and replacing the damaged pulp.
When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, patients may have the following symptoms:
- Sudden and severe pain to the face
- Extreme sensitivity
- Cannot bear to have hot or cold food/drinks
- Pain when biting or chewing or touching the tooth
- Swelling to the gum or the face
- Presence of oozing pus
- Tooth feels loose
- Bad breath
What causes death to the pulp?
- Untreated decay and hole in the teeth which allows bacteria to fester
- Sudden trauma to the teeth, for example a sudden fall to the ground, bike accidents, sports injury
- Severe grinding
- Long standing cracks
- Untreated areas of eroded teeth
- Gum Diseases
- A large filling with a previous history of a large cavity
What happens if an infected tooth with a damaged nerve is left untreated?
The infection will continue to grow and spread, and the bacteria will become more difficulty to treat. Sometimes pus may start travelling to the neck or the eye and cause life threatening conditions. The damage to the face can be significant and the tooth will most likely need to be extracted.
Sometimes a dead pulp may have no pain but this does not mean there are no problems, the infection is most likely building up underneath and within the tooth, causing severe bone loss and destroying important tooth structures.
Eventually the pain will come, and some patients may need to be hospitalised.
Is Root Canal Treatment safe?
There are many myths out there about Root Canals not being safe. Root Canals are extremely safe and well supported by sound research and reputable dental bodies like the Australian Dental Association.
The most unsafe thing that you can do is to let an infected tooth get out of control, this can severely compromise the health of your other teeth and immune system.
Success rate of Root Canal Treatment
The success rate for the procedure is generally very good when there is sufficient tooth structure, often it sits at 90-95% for an average tooth and many people can keep the tooth for many years. The tooth will continue to function as normal.
How much does Root Canal Treatment cost?
Root Canal is a very difficult procedure, it demands a lot of time and meticulous detail. To save your tooth, our Dentists must try to locate very fine nerve spots within the tooth before cleaning them gently with bendy thin files.
It is tricky to navigate and almost as complex as performing surgery within the eye. The more canals you have in the tooth, the higher the demand in terms of time, intricacy and materials – this can increase the cost of your Root Canal.
As a guide, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,700 for the entire procedure.
Is Root Canal Treatment painful?
Many of our patients come in with the idea that Root Canal is painful. It may have been in the past but nowadays there are many anaesthetic solutions and techniques to overcome this.
Normally, it just feels like having a filling but may take just slightly longer. What is actually causing the pain is not the Root Canal procedure itself but the presence of pus and infection inside your mouth, once that is cleared then the tooth will feel better again.
Root Canal Treatment Process
Root Canal Treatment requires several visits, how many and how long in between each visit is dependent on the complexity of the case. Usually there are three visits on average:
- Emergency appointment
- Second appointment
- Third appointment
1. Emergency appointment
The first appointment is generally an emergency visit brought on by pain.
Any decay, pus, debris and infected pulp will be removed. Medication is placed within the nerve canals of the tooth and the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. Once the cause of pain is eliminated, patients may feel much better and think the subsequent appoints are no longer required however, we strongly recommended completing the entire Root Canal process to give you the highest possible success rate in saving your tooth.
2. Second appointment
At the second visit, the nerve canals need to be measured and shaped. This is to remove hollow spots within the canals where bacteria may still be lurking in. This involves the use of special small instruments and disinfectants to flush and destroy as much bacteria as possible.
The tooth is re-medicated and resealed, the flushing and instrument cleaning may require another visit if the bacteria is of a strong and stubborn strain.
3. Third appointment
When symptoms have been resolved, the third visit is used to fill up the canal space to prevent the bacteria from re-entering and growing in the canals. A permanent filling is then placed, and the tooth will function as normal again.