Reasons for root canal therapy
Tooth ache is the stuff of nightmares! And in many cases, people would happily be rid of the tooth completely. Once the dentist has assessed the tooth, however, they may introduce the topic of root canal therapy, or RCT.
It means saving the tooth
Through this treatment, the dentist is aiming to relieve the pain AND save the tooth. There are problems that follow extraction because it leaves a gap. Teeth either side of a gap will drift to fill the space, losing their alignment for chewing and, of course, appearance. Sometimes the opposing tooth (eg. top tooth after lower extraction) grows longer (over-erupts) without the normal contact and resistance from its partner. These problems are best prevented by filling the gap – either with a ‘false tooth’ (crown /bridge) or via a dental implant. These are great options for replacing a tooth, but are never quite the same as a natural tooth. Successful root canal therapy means keeping your natural teeth for longer.
When RCT is an option?
A tooth is a candidate for RCT when the pulp is damaged or infected and unable to heal itself. The treatment involves opening the tooth to remove the infected (painful) tissues and thoroughly cleaning the chamber. This chamber, with a canal for each root of the tooth is filled with a special cement. A permanent crown is made to appear as close in colour and shape as the original tooth.
The conversation about RCT is never a welcome one! However, the treatment is a good way to extend the life of natural tooth and put off having to embrace alternatives with their associated compromises.