Root Canal Treatment Calgary
A root canal treatment is a procedure performed when the nerve within the tooth is no longer vital or almost non vital, which is most often caused by an infection that has developed in the tooth and/or the surrounding tissues. Instead of alternatively getting the infected tooth extracted, the patient may choose to salvage the tooth by proceeding with a root canal treatment.
Every tooth in your mouth has its own nerve. It gives color, strength and sensation to the tooth, and is what gives your teeth that chilled feeling when you bite into something cold like ice cream. A tooth’s hard outer layer, enamel, helps protect that nerve. However, the nerve can be affected if the tooth has decay deep enough to reach the nerve or if there is trauma caused to the tooth such as a fall or some sort of impact. This will cause the nerve to become infected, creating an abscess. The tooth and area may also become very sensitive to hot and cold temperature or be painful to touch and pressure when biting. Antibiotics prescribed by a doctor or dentist can help minimize the infection but will not get rid of the infection all together. The source of the infection must be addressed or it will come back and a second round of antibiotics may not suffice as the body may begin to grow a tolerance. If left unseen by a dentist, the abscess can grow, creating a pus filled bubble on the gums near where the tip of the root would be, and can sometimes swell to the size of a baseball. The infection can also travel through your bloodstream and become life threatening. That is why it is very important to have the infected tooth taken care of before it gets to that point. A root canal treatment can help prevent further damage to the body, while still keeping your natural tooth intact.
A root canal treatment can be done in 2 stages at the first appointment. The dentist will initially open up the tooth to relieve the pressure and pain, by administering medicine into the tooth and allowing the infection to drain for a few days.
Following the drainage of infection, the patient returns for a subsequent appointment for the dentist to continue the root canal procedure. During this appointment the infected nerves are removed from the tooth and the canals are cleaned out. The disinfected canals are filled with a permanent material, creating a seal to the tip of the roots to prevent further infection developing within the tooth. An x-ray is then taken to ensure the canals are filled correctly. The number of canals in a tooth all depends on the placement of the tooth in the mouth. However, even then a tooth may have an extra canal or the canals may be calcified making it more difficult for a general dentist to get in and clean. In these situations, the patient would be referred to an endodontic (root canal) specialist who has more intricate tools to get into the tiny or calcified root.
Once a tooth had a root canal treatment, it starts to become brittle due to the lack of blood supply, leaving it at high risk of fracture. Getting a dental crown placed on the tooth helps prevent any further damage from happening to the tooth. Though the tooth has had its nerve removed, it is still susceptible to decay, meaning it must still be properly taken care of with daily brushing and flossing.