Involves treatment of diseased or injured teeth obviating
extraction, root canal treatment being the best example in
Root canal treatment usually requires the removal and replacement of a tooth’s pulp. The pulp is soft tissue containing blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. The pulp extends from the pulp chamber in the crown of the tooth down through the root canal to the tip of the root in the jawbone. If the pulp becomes damaged through disease or injury, bacteria and their products can leak into the pulp and cause it to die. If, now a root canal procedure is not performed an abscess can form at the root tip and cause a lot of pain. Even if there is no pain the bone surrounding the root can get damaged and without treatment the tooth may have to be removed.
Treatment involves removal of the pulp and filling the canal(s) with an inert material. In the first visit, a local anesthetic injection is given. An opening is made through the tooth into the pulp chamber and the pulp is then removed. Medication may be placed to eliminate bacteria. A temporary filling is placed to keep out saliva. Antibiotics may be prescribed if infection is present. On the next visit, the temporary filling is removed and the root canal is permanently sealed with an inert material like gutta percha. After about a week the tooth is shaped and a crown(cap) placed over it. Capping teeth(especially premolars and molars) after root canals is important as the tooth becomes brittle and can break while eating if they are not capped
The cap can be made of metal, metal with porcelain or all porcelain.
Proper oral hygiene measures and regular dental visits can ensure that the root canaled tooth lasts a lifetime.