Dental pulp is the name given to the soft tissue situated in a canal or channel that runs through the root of your tooth. It consists mainly of nerves and blood vessels essential to the growth and development of the tooth.
Therefore, a tooth can function normally without its pulp and can be kept indefinitely. After endodontic treatment the tooth is pulp-less, but it is not a dead tooth.
How Does Pulp Become Diseased?
The most common cause of pulp damage is deep decay that reaches the pulp. Other causes of pulp damage include:
Traumatic blows to teeth, loose fillings, excessive wear of teeth and gum disease. These processes can lead to infection of the pulp.
The infection may then spread through the opening at the tip of the root to the surrounding bone—an abscess usually results and this may be painful and may cause swelling.
During endodontic treatment, the infected or damaged pulp is removed from the inside (i.e. root canal) of your tooth. When completed the treated tooth will act and feel normal and often retains durability, functionality and its natural appearance as long as your other teeth.
Root canal therapy is accomplished by using local anaesthetic injection to numb the tooth involved. Then access is gained to the pulp chamber (canal) in the middle of your tooth by drilling a small hole into the tooth. Delicate files are then used to smooth and shape the canal to make sure no tissue remains, which could otherwise become infected. The canal will be sterilised with medications and the canals completely filled with an inert material to prevent bacteria and fluids from getting inside the tooth.
Depending on the complexity of your tooth the length of treatment and number of appointments may vary.
Sedative dressings and temporary fillings may be placed inside your tooth between each visit in order to settle the surrounding tissues and destroy any remaining bacteria.
During endodontic treatment your tooth will be isolated with a sheet of rubber (rubber dam), this is to keep your tooth clean and dry so that the canals can be sterilised.
It is necessary to take a number of radiographs (commonly called x-rays) throughout treatment; these are required to check various treatment stages. Since the roots are under the gum and bone, the root canals cannot be seen with the naked eye and can only be visualised using radiographs.
If you are suffering from tooth pain contact our team today to arrange an endodontic consultation.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.