At Sheppard Village Dental, we have an Endodontist on our team who is specially trained in providing root canal treatment to our patients who may need it.
The pain that people often associate with root canals is usually the result of infection, not a result from the root canal treatment itself. Root canal therapy restores an infected tooth causing the associated pain to subside.The procedure allows a patient to preserve a severely damaged tooth. By the time you need root canal therapy, the tooth is already dead inside and the therapy cleans out the decay allowing you to keep your tooth for functional purposes. The field of dentistry devoted to root canal therapy is referred to as Endodontics. At Sheppard Village Dental, we have an Endodontist on our team who is specially trained in providing root canal treatment to our patients who may need it.
WHAT IS A "ROOT CANAL"? The inside of a tooth is called the pulp. This is where nerves and blood supply nutrients to the tooth. If bacterial infection gets into the root canal system of the tooth, it begins to deteriorate the inside. Often when the body attempts to protect itself from the bacterial by-products of the infection, it causes inflammation (swelling) and hypersensitivity to either hot and/or cold temperatures that linger for more than just a few seconds. This also can cause spontaneous discomfort strong enough that it can wake you at night. In some instances when a tooth becomes necrotic (or “dies”), it may not cause noticeable symptoms. Treatment is still necessary as the infection can spread to the root of the tooth and into the bone and this creates an abscess. This can be detected radiographically where it might show up as a dark circle around the tip of a root in xrays and cause swollen gums.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIGNS OF SYMPTOMS OF NEEDING ROOT CANAL THERAPY?
Contact our office as soon as possible if you experience any of the following symptoms:
CAN'T I JUST TAKE ANTIBIOTICS IF I HAVE AN INFECTED TOOTH? Once a tooth is infected inside the root canal chamber antibiotics may help control the infection from spreading, but will not cure the infection. So although antibiotics suppress the symptoms of the root canal pain, it cannot treat the infected tissue inside the root. Pain-killers and anti-inflammatories only temporarily help make you more comfortable by minimizing the swelling and associated discomfort.
WHAT HAPPENS TO A TOOTH AFTER IT HAS UNDERGONE ROOT CANAL THERAPY? Once the inside of the tooth has been cleaned out, it is essentially a “dead” tooth. It loses blood supply, may become fragile, dry out and turn a darker colour. For these reasons and also because the deep decay frequently destroys the top portion of the tooth, a crown is often placed on top to protect and seal the tooth. In some cases, a post is put into the top portion of the root canal to give strength and stability to a crown, particularly when the sides of a tooth were decayed or broken down prior. The result is a solid, natural looking tooth in place of the decayed original one.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ALTERNATIVES TO UNDERGOING ROOT CANAL THERAPY? Recent technologies in the last 20-30 years have significantly improved the success rate, comfort level, post-treatment and healing time. If you hold off on root canal therapy until there is swelling surrounding an infected tooth, it may make it more challenging to administer local anaesthetic and therefore the treatment will need to be delayed until the swelling is reduced. In these cases, cleaning out the tooth, prescribing antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and placing a temporary filling may be necessary first to calm down the area before root canal therapy can be completed. An alternative to root canal therapy is removing the infected tooth (an extraction). Although this is a quick fix for immediate pain, it can create long term bite issues and require more future treatment, such as a bridge or implant, to replace the extracted tooth. Opting for root canal therapy is often no more difficult than simply getting a large filling. Saving the tooth through root canal therapy will also help preserve the bone height in that area. At Sheppard Village Dental, our goal is to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
HOW LONG WILL THE TREATMENT LAST? Typically root canals have a very high success rate. When the treatment is completed properly and the tooth is not stressed from excessive lateral pressure, the tooth could last a lifetime with proper care. If a significant amount of the top portion of the tooth was lost due to trauma or decay, the success rate of the treatment could be affected. In addition, some teeth have very complex root systems making treatment more complicated and challenging. Chewing cautiously and not overstressing the tooth along with regular maintenance will help increase the chances of long-term success. Millions of teeth are saved each year by root canal therapy.
WILL I ALWAYS NEED A CROWN AFTER A ROOT CANAL? Depending on the cause for the root canal, the depth of decay, the amount of remaining tooth structure and the size of the opening needed to treat the tooth, you may be able to opt for a filling rather than a crown. In most cases however, a crown is generally recommended for protective purposes.
As the owner of Sheppard Village Dental for over 25 years, Dr. Brach is extremely passionate about making a difference in the holistic health of his patients.
Specially skilled at making younger patients feel comfortable, Dr. Wong thrives on watching her patients grow and become young adults with healthy, beautiful teeth.
An active member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Dr. Ghorbani is dedicated to the newest advancements in implant dentistry.
Dr. Ma feels extremely privileged to be able to change people’s lives by improving their smiles and establishing a healthy bite.