Root canal treatment is necessary for a tooth that has irreversible damage of its medulla (a bundle of nerves and blood vessels). Cause of damage are bacteria that have reached the dental nerve cavity through a tooth cavity or a deep pocket in the gingiva. Occasionally root canal treatment is necessary for a tooth that has suffered a trauma.
How does root canal treatment work?
During root canal treatment dental nerve and damaged tissue is removed from root canals with the help of specialized thin file-like needles. Root canal treatment is mostly done with anesthesia, but if the dental nerve is already dead, anesthesia is not always necessary.
Depending on the course of treatment, a drug is administered to the root canal and a temporary filling, or the root canals are immediately closed with a root filling. Root canal treatment generally consists of three appointments, but in case of very widespread inflammation or complex root canal system treatment may take longer.
In case of acute inflammation, complaints and pain may not disappear immediately when starting root canal treatment. Also, when treating a tooth that has previously been without complaints but has chronic root canal inflammation, the inflammation may flare up at first and cause pain or tenderness. In this case your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and recommend analgesics. Medication must be taken as per doctor’s instructions and the antibiotic treatment should not be stopped prematurely even if complaints disappear.
What’s next? What happens after?
After completion of root canal treatment the tooth is restored and given the correct shape. It is recommended to coat the tooth with a crown to prevent tooth fracture. If necessary, an internal pin is used in the root to support the crown.
An X-ray is made of the tooth after six months to a year following the completion of root canal treatment to assess the outcome of root canal treatment.