Root canals are required when the inner core of the tooth becomes infected, mostly due to some sort of damage, through which bacteria can enter. This causes pain and inflammation, which can also result in serious health issues. Therefore, the ill-functioning inner nerve and blood vessel network of the tooth must be removed during a root canal treatment. It is common belief that the procedure takes many painful, long sessions at the dentist, but it is simply a myth. If done precisely, a root canal treatment regularly takes only 1 to 3 sittings.
Root canals are usually performed when there are painful symptoms, but they can also be planned ahead. It is reasonable to remove the root when it decayed, even without causing any problems, or if the tooth needs to be filed excessively due to the treatment of one of the neighbouring teeth. In this latter case preventive root canals are performed, expecting the inner core of the tooth to be damaged.
Root Canals – The Procedure
The first step of root canals is drilling a hole to the surface of the tooth, reaching the pulp chamber and the nerve channels branching from there. Teeth can have 1 to 3, in rare cases even 4 nerve channels. Usually no living tissue is found in there, only debris and pus. Then, the chamber and the channels are cleansed with special dental tools and solutions, treated with an antibiotic or antiseptic paste, and closed up with a temporary filling to prevent bacteria from entering the wound.
Teeth that require root canal treatment are usually seriously infected; therefore, one sitting is only sufficient when performing preventive tooth canals. Thus, after the first cleansing session, a second or third one follows, usually performed with a one-week hiatus. During these sittings the previously placed temporary fillings are removed, cleansing and treatment is repeated, and the wound is closed up again. The material of the permanent root filling is a rubber-like substance called guttapercha, while the opening on the tooth crown is closed by conventional fillings.
Root Canals under Tooth Crowns
If required, root canals can be performed also on a tooth with a crown. It is up to the dentist if they remove the crown, or perform the procedure by drilling a hole in it. In the case of a tooth with 1 root canal only a small hole is needed for the removal of nerves and blood vessels, so it might be a good decision to keep the crown on. When having a root canal on a tooth with 2 or more root canals, a bigger opening is required for the procedure, resulting in the aesthetical damage of the crown. Therefore, it is wiser to remove the crown ahead of the procedure.
Time Scope of Root Canals
Usually the whole procedure can be performed in 3 sessions with excellent results. Concerning the length of each sitting, the first treatment, that is, the removal of nerves and blood vessels requires the most time. Due to the precision it takes, placing the permanent filling and closing up the tooth also takes a while. The time scope of the sittings depends on the number of root canals, as well: cleansing of 1 root canal can be performed in less than 30 minutes, while 2 or more canals require more time and attention.
Thanks to modern anaesthetics, root canal treatments are practically painless, and do not require more than 3 weeks of the patient’s time. This is a small price to pay for healthy and beautiful teeth. If you are having problems with your teeth, and reckon you need tooth canal treatment, do not hesitate to book an appointment to one of our skilled dentists at Forest & Ray Dental at the heart of Budapest.