Root canal therapy is a procedure where the pulp of the tooth is treated so that the natural tooth can be maintained. The pulp tissue, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, is vital to the development of the tooth. Once the tooth is formed, the function of the pulp is sensory.
The tissue of the dental pulp can be subject to irritation or injury caused by deep cavities, trauma to the teeth, tooth cracks, chemical or thermal damage. The pulp can become inflamed and if it cannot repair itself, it needs to be removed. The canals are shaped and the space sealed, so that bacteria is prevented from growing.
Indications for root canal therapy
If a tooth is sensitive to touch or biting pressure, sensitive to heat or displays swelling in the gums, root canal therapy may be indicated. There are also occasions when there is no pain associated with the need for treatment.
Why does a tooth require root canal therapy?
If the nerve in the root is damaged, bacteria may gain entry to the nerve and cause an infection. White blood cells, that fight infections, cannot access this space and bacteria will infect the entire pulp. If the tooth is not treated, pain and swelling may result. Infection can continue and cause destruction of surrounding bone, forming an abscess. Continuing destruction may result in loss of the tooth.
Success of Endodontic Treatment
The success rate for endodontic treatment is approximately 95%. More than 14 million root canal procedures are done each year. If a tooth requiring endodontics is left untreated, bone loss and infection can occur, this is very painful. This tooth may be replaced with a bridge or dental implant. But these options may be more expensive and time-consuming than treating the affected tooth.