ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
Root canal treatment is needed when the living tissue inside the tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Root canal infection very often travels through the entire tooth and localizes outside the tip of the root affecting the bone around the end of the tooth. This living tissue or "pulp" can become compromised due to a deep cavity, multiple, deep fillings or a crack that is near the pulp.
An inflamed or infected pulp is usually painful, and is associated with lingering sensitivity to hot or cold and if not treated promptly, will result in swelling and discomfort in the neighboring gum or other facial structures.
The goal of treatment is to remove all the infected and inflamed tissue. The pulp space is then shaped, filled and sealed. Once root canal treatment is complete, your family dentist will then replace the filling overtop the root canal and advise that the tooth be protected with a crown.
Retreatment: root canal treatment can last a lifetime. At times; however, the infection surrounding a tooth may persist and the root canal treatment needs to be redone. This treatment is termed: "retreatment" and is best undertaken by a root canal specialist.
ROOT CANAL SURGERY
Root canal treatment is a very predictable and effective way of treating infections and inflammation within the pulp. However, there are instances when the infection will persist at the tip of a root and in the bone after root canal treatment. Treatment of recalcitrant infections such as these will require a surgical procedure. The surgery involves opening the gum above and around the offending tooth and removing the infected tissue along with the tip of the root. It is common to then seal the exposed root end with a "mini" filling.
Local anesthetics are used to completely "numb" patients throughout this treatment. The experience is usually comfortable and pain-free. In fact, patients often return to work the very next day!