Root Canal Therapy
“Endodontics” or “root canal therapy” is a dental procedure that literally means “treatment inside the tooth.” The inside structure, or “pulp”, of a tooth is a vulnerable tissue that can easily become inflamed and infected.
Inflamation and Infection
This most commonly occurs due to caries (decay), but may have occurred from a number of other possible causes, such as a crack, periodontal (deep gum) disease, and from trauma (being knocked). If left untreated, it can lead to pain, abscess in the jawbone, and swelling.
Saving the Natural Tooth
In the past, if the tooth pulp was inflamed and infected the only option was extraction. Since the advent of root canal therapy, it is usually possible to save and restore the tooth. Saving the natural tooth is usually far more beneficial than extraction or an artificial replacement, as it is most in line with the natural healthy state of your tooth and mouth. It is often the more cost effective solution in the long term also.
A consultation with one of our Endodontists at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists is a very important first step. A thorough clinical examination is conducted so that the most appropriate course of treatment can be determined. There is often more than one approach and we will take the time to explain all treatment options with you. Each potential procedure, as well as any follow up requirements, expected outcomes and all associated costs will be discussed with you in a straightforward way.
We encourage you to ask questions and will ensure you gain a complete understanding of your options prior to commencing any therapy.
Root canal therapy aims to save your natural tooth by disinfecting the inside of the tooth and allowing the surrounding tissues to heal.
While locally anaesthetised, an opening is made within the biting surface of the tooth to allow access to the pulp and infected area. With clinical precision and using specially designed instruments and magnification, your specialist Endodontist will remove the diseased and infected pulp. The root canal system will then be cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
Depending on your individual circumstances, generally 2 appointments may be required to complete your root canal therapy. A medication to control bacteria and make your tooth comfortable will be placed in the root canals between appointments.
At a follow up appointment, the inside of the tooth will again be cleaned before being filled and sealed.
Upon completion of your root canal therapy, a comprehensive report will be sent to your general dentist. Your dentist will then place either a full coverage filling or crown, restoring your tooth to its full function and appearance.
Root canal therapy generally has a very high level of success, especially when completed by a highly trained, experienced operator such as an Endodontist. There are a small percentage of cases however that may not heal as desired, or remain uncomfortable or painful. In these cases, the tooth may have remained infected or become reinfected. Should this occur then an Endodontist is usually called upon to provide root canal retreatment to save the tooth.
If your Endodontist has assessed that your tooth is amenable to endodontic retreatment, retreatment of the original root canal therapy can be undertaken with a high degree of success. This process normally involves 2 or 3 appointments spaced over a number of weeks. Your Endodontist at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists will discuss this with you at the time of your consultation.
Retreatment involves re-accessing the tooth through the biting surface and removing the original root filling. The root canals are then re-shaped and medicated and this medication is sealed inside the tooth. An appropriate length of time is given for the medication to effectively re-sterilise the inside of the tooth and for the body to heal the infection. The canals are then refilled. Your tooth may need a new filling or crown during or after this root canal retreatment, and we will usually refer you back to your dentist for this at the optimal time.
Endodontic microsurgery is a minor surgical procedure that removes bacteria from the tip of the tooth root. This procedure is required in a small percentage of cases where conventional root canal therapy alone has been insufficient in allowing the body to heal the infection.
This procedure is usually carried out under sedation administered by a qualified anaesthetist in our rooms at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists. While you are “asleep”, the procedure is completed in a single visit. It does not involve a trip to hospital.
The use of operating microscopes and innovative microsurgical techniques in the field has significantly improved the success rate and the recovery time of this procedure. All of our Endodontists at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists are trained and experienced to offer this service using the latest techniques and equipment.
For more information about endodontic microsurgery http://www.aae.org/patients/treatments-and-procedures/endodontic-surgery-explained.aspx
With the use of newer materials in root canal therapy, like those used at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists, discolouration of teeth after root canal therapy is rare. However, if you have a discoloured root filled tooth, an Endodontist can bleach it back to its original shade, or very close to it. The process normally takes 2 to 3 short visits. Your Endodontist can discuss this with you at your consultation.
A more common cause of discoloration of teeth is due to a bruise developing inside the tooth after the tooth has been traumatised (knocked). This can occur to a person of any age who suffers trauma to a tooth, but is more common in children and teenagers. Some of these teeth will respond well with time, and the natural colour of the tooth will return spontaneously after a few months. Some may remain discoloured. Discoloured traumatised teeth that have not resolved spontaneously usually require root canal therapy, after which the tooth can be successfully bleached back to its original shade. This is a painless process and usually involves no more than three short appointments.
If you have previously had a bad dental experience or are nervous about your root canal therapy, you can usually have your procedure carried out under sedation. All of our Endodontists offer treatment under “twilight” or “conscious” sedation, administered by a qualified anaesthetist in our rooms at Adelaide Endodontic Specialists. Where appropriate, treatment can be completed in a single visit, and you can return home after a short monitored recovery period by our registered nurse. It does not involve a trip to hospital.
There have been significant advancements in endodontic diagnosis and treatment procedures in the last few years. Adelaide Endodontic Specialists incorporates these in all phases of your management, ensuring you receive only the highest quality dental care. We use:
- endodontic microscopes;
- endodontic rotary equipment;
- electronic apex locators;
- digital radiography; and
- the latest endodontic microsurgical techniques.
Like many medical and dental procedures, post therapy review assesses healing to ensure an optimal outcome for you. Your review appointment is a short appointment that usually involves a short clinical check, radiograph and discussion.
Teeth that have been traumatised (knocked) often require a series of reviews. This allows us to provide any interventions that may be needed in a timely manner.
Schedule an appointment
Please contact our friendly reception staff on 8228 3000 or if you prefer, please fill out our online request form.