Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is the removal of the tooth's pulp, a small, thread-like tissue in the center of the tooth. Once the damaged, diseased or dead pulp is removed, the remaining space is cleaned, shaped and filled. This procedure seals off the root canal. Years ago, teeth with diseased or injured pulps were removed. Today, root canal treatment saves many teeth that would otherwise be lost.

The most common causes of pulp damage or death are :

  • A cracked tooth
  • A deep cavity
  • An injury to a tooth, such as a severe knock to the tooth, either recent or in the past.
  • Once the pulp is infected or dead, if left untreated, pus can build up at the root tip in the jawbone, forming an abscess. An abscess can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain

    Root canal treatment consists of several steps that take place over several visits, depending on the situation. These steps are :

  • First, an opening is made through the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or pre-molar.
  • After the diseased pulp is removed (a pulpectomy), the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped in preparation for being filled.
  • If more than one visit is needed, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits.
  • The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal permanently filled. A tapered, rubbery material called gutta-percha is inserted into each of the canals and is often sealed into place with cement. Sometimes a metal or plastic rod is placed in the canal for structural support.
  • In the final step, a crown is usually placed over the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. If the tooth is very broken down, a post may be required to build it up prior to placing a crown.
  • Your treated and restored tooth/teeth can last a lifetime with proper care. Because tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth, good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are necessary to prevent further problems.

    As there is no longer a pulp keeping the tooth alive, root-treated teeth can become brittle and are more prone to fracture. This is an important consideration when deciding whether to crown or fill a tooth after root canal treatment.

    To determine the success or failure of root canal treatment, the most relied-upon method is to compare new X-rays with those taken prior to treatment. This comparison will show whether bone continues to be lost or is being regenerated.

    Fixed prosthodontics are prosthetic devices such as dental crowns, bridgework, and dental implants that replace missing teeth inside the mouth. Fixed prosthodontics are not regularly removed, and are used instead of removable dental devices such as dentures and partials. The term can also refer to the associated field of restoration dentistry like crowns used for smile designing.

    Let Smile Essentials give you a brief idea on how crowns and bridges work ....

    A crown is used to entirely cover or "cap" a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. A crown can also be placed on top of an implant to provide a tooth-like shape and structure for function. Porcelain or ceramic crowns can be matched to the color of your natural teeth. . Porcelain bonded to a metal shell is often used for back teeth because it is both strong and attractive.

    Smile Essentials may recommend a crown to :

  • Replace a large filling when there isn't enough tooth remaining
  • Protect a weak tooth from fracturing
  • Restore a fractured tooth
  • Attach a bridge
  • Cover a dental implant
  • Cover a discolored or poorly shaped tooth
  • Cover a tooth that has had root canal treatment
  • For children, a crown may be used on primary (baby) teeth in order to :

  • Save a tooth that has been so damaged by decay that it can't support a filling.
  • Protect the teeth of a child at high risk for tooth decay, especially when a child has difficulty keeping up with daily oral hygiene.
  • Decrease the frequency of sedation and general anesthesia for children unable because of age, behavior, or medical history to fully cooperate with the requirements of proper dental care.
  • A bridge may be recommended if you're missing one or more teeth. Gaps left by missing teeth eventually cause the remaining teeth to rotate or shift into the empty spaces, resulting in a bad bite. The imbalance caused by missing teeth can also lead to gum disease and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

    Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space. These teeth, called abutments, serve as anchors for the bridge. A replacement tooth, called a pontic, is attached to the crowns that cover the abutments. As with crowns, you have a choice of materials for bridges.Smile Essentials can help you decide which to use, based on the location of the missing tooth (or teeth), its function, aesthetic considerations and cost. Porcelain or ceramic bridges can be matched to the color of your natural teeth.

    While crowns and bridges can last a lifetime, they do sometimes come loose or fall out. The most important step you can take to ensure the longevity of your crown or bridge is to practice good oral hygiene. A bridge can lose its support if the teeth or bone holding it in place are damaged by dental disease. Keep your gums and teeth healthy byBrushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing daily. Also see us at Smile Essentials regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

    To prevent damage to your new crown or bridge, avoid chewing hard foods, ice or other hard objects.