Endodontic treatment is a procedure required when the tooth’s supplying nerve has been damaged. This can happen for many reasons among which are deep cavities reaching the pulp (nerve) chamber and trauma to the teeth. The main aim of this procedure is to eliminate the dead nerve tissue, remove the invading microbial flora (bacteria) and prevent bacterial recurrence in the future.
In the past, such “nerve dead” teeth were extracted, now, endodontic treatment is the one of choice as it not only preserves the tooth, but also increases its life-span.
Each tooth may contain one or several roots, within which are small canals in which the nerve supplying the tooth travels. The aim of root canal therapy is the cleaning, shaping, decontamination and filling of these small canals. This is done by the insertion of very small “files” – a needle shaped dental instrument- into these canals. These files are used to clean and shape. The canals are flushed with specific solutions to decontaminate them, then, they are filled with an inert material called Gutta Percha along with a sealant that acts as a cement; filling in microscopic spaces and attaching the Gutta Percha firmly to the interior of the canal.
As unnerving as that may sound, this procedure is typically painless if done properly and if the tooth was not priorly severly infected.
After endodontic treatment, the tooth is usually brittle, thus, requiring protective coverage in the form of a dental crown. This is strongly recommended to increase the longevity of the tooth. Depending on the degree of damage present in the tooth, it may also require a post and core filling.