Root Canal Therapy
Dental decays will cause physical damage to our teeth, to further complicate the issue, it is a bacterial infection. Once dental decay reaches the pulpal chamber of the tooth, the tooth is said to have endodontic infection. This is often accompanied by pain and swelling. If left untreated, the jaw bone may also erode around the abscess, as it drains out of the tooth’s roots. Root canal therapy is the procedure to treat such infections. It involves 3 main stages; to reduce the active inflammation, to cleanse the pulpal chamber and root canals thoroughly, and once the tooth is pain-free, the root canal space is sealed off. Because the tooth is hollowed from inside out, the weakened tooth structure should be protected with a strong restoration which also acts as a physical barrier to any further infection.
Pre-op: Deep decay underneath old restoration. Previously un-monitored and the tooth was in excruciating pain. Large shadow underneath the opaque white mass is the decay, and at tip of the tooth root is a dark shadow which suggests a zone of infection. The tooth can be saved with a carefully performed root canal therapy and avoid the loss of the tooth.
Measurement: The root canal therapy is essentially the treatment to rid infection inside the pulpal/nerve space within the tooth, and to seal the tooth from further reinfection into the root tip of the root. This needs to be performed very carefully and should always have a “rubberdam” isolation field to avoid the re-introduction of bacteria from within the mouth into the canal spaces. In this image the dentist has used a clamp to lock the rubberdam to the tooth and is measuring the sealing length for the final root filling.
Post-op: A well-obturated/filled root canal therapy. The tooth is symptom-free and will have a crown placed on it to seal the tooth from any potential fracture and decays in it. Studies have shown a well-placed dental crown can provide superior seal and, if possible, should always be placed on the tooth after the root canal therapy is completed with the tooth being symptom-free.
Temporary restoration of teeth that are receiving root canal therapy. Note that these temporary restorations are weak and prone to chipping.
Careful restoration of the teeth with crowns. The teeth have added strength and aesthetics.