A tooth’s anatomy consists of a crown, which is the part of the tooth above the gumline, and the root, which anchors the tooth to the jaw. Teeth usually have 1-4 roots. The front teeth usually have one root and the back molars have more. Inside the tooth, the pulp chamber or root canal houses that tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Each root has these vital components. If these tissues become damaged through infection (e.g. deep decay or severe gum disease) or trauma (from things like accidents, grinding, or extensive dental work, which can sometimes include orthodontics), then a root canal treatment is needed.
During a root canal treatment, a small opening is made in the top of the tooth and the infected contents of the pulp chamber are removed and disinfected. The roots are then filled with a rubber-like material called gutta percha. A temporary filling plugs the hole in the top of the tooth, and that portion of the treatment is complete. Once the tooth heals, usually in 1-3 weeks, a permanent restoration is needed. The type of final restoration depends on where the tooth is located in the mouth and the size of the filling that the tooth had before the root canal was done. A full-coverage crown with or without posts will often be recommended.
The procedure itself should be painless since local anaesthesia (freezing) is used. At Sleep For Dentistry, we can also employ sedative techniques to make the procedure even more comfortable for you. In very rare cases usually when the tooth is extremely infected, it may be difficult to obtain complete freezing. This is where sedation is of excellent advantage. For the more complicated cases, we have root canal specialists (endodontists) available to help us while we provide the sedation/anaesthesia services.