Root Canal Therapy: Key Treatment to Save a Tooth

The preservation of the natural dentition is the primary goal of dentistry. A root canal therapy is one of the ways to preserve your natural tooth. There are numerous published surveys that indicate that patients generally value teeth and express a desire to save their natural dentition in favor of extraction whenever possible. Be careful what you read, especially on-line because most of the information is not peer reviewed and scientifically written, making most of the information either inaccurate or heavily biased. The statement that root canals are toxic must be questioned; since the material used to treat endodontic infections are biologically inert and have been used since 1874.

To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know a little about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp.12.23.15 - Roots The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

A root canal treatment treats the inside of the tooth. A root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause severe pain or lead to an abscess.

During the root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth maintaining its periodontal ligament (shock absorber) for proprioception.

Significant biological and technological advancements have been made in all disciplines of dentistry, especially in the field of endodontics (specialists who perform root canals) making tooth preservation more attainable. The high magnification dental operating microscope, special nickel-titanium instruments, apex locators, enhanced irrigation protocols, and tooth preservation strategies are examples of improvements that allow clinicians to predictable manage and treat tooth infections. With these biological and technological innovations, the success rates of a root canal therapy vary from 93% to 97% up to 8 yrs.

Patients are living longer; therefore, preservation of the natural dentition is more important than ever. Helping patients maintain there “Teeth for a Lifetime “is the fundamental goal of dentistry and often aligns with the desires of the patient. A root canal therapy is one procedure that if indicated could preserve your tooth for a lifetime.