Why Root Canal Therapy?

 

PULP AND JAW INFECTION

Bacteria are the most common causes of inflammation and infection or the pulp. They enter the pulp through tooth decay or if tooth breaks.

Invading bacteria first overwhelm the pulp defenses in the pulp chamber. Then they destroy the pulp in the root canals.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

Toxins (poisons) from the bacteria that have destroyed the pulp can leak out of the root  ends into the jawbone. The jawbone, like all bones, is a living tissue. It has arteries, veins, and nerves like any other tissue. Therefore, it can become inflamed and infected by the presence of bacteria and their toxins.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

INFECTION OF THE FACE AND NECK  

Finally, long-standing dental infection in bone can erode though the side of the bone into the mouth, or into the face or neck. and cause sudden, serious, and painful swelling.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

WHY ROOT CANAL THERAPY?

The goals of root canal therapy are to:

1.- Remove bacteria and infected pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals.

 2.- Completely fill the canal(s) and pulp chamber with a solid filling material to prevent future trouble.

When root canal therapy is done, inflammation in the bone around root ends can heal, and the tooth is saved.  

HOW ROOT CANAL THERAPY IS DONE

The method of root canal therapy shown is a very common one. Other techniques differ in some details and materials, but accomplish the same goals.

Root canal therapy proceeds in two stages:

A.- Preparing the root canal.

A. PREPARING THE ROOT CANAL

Step 1: Opening the tooth

The dentist gently makes an opening into the tooth. Local anesthesia may be necessary to prevent pain that can occur if any nerve fibers are still alive in the pulp.  

All tooth decay is removed.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

 

Step2: Shaping the canals

The dentist uses a series of very delicate, flexible finger-held instruments. The one used in the illustration is a file.

Each file the dentist uses is slightly larger than the preceding one. The canals are delicately cleaned with these instruments to remove dead pulp debris and bacteria.

 The dentist then shapes each canal to receive a filling.


Click on Pictures to Enlarge

X-rays help assure that the instruments go exactly to the end of the root and not beyond.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

After preparation, all canals must be solidly filled. Otherwise, tissue fluid from the bone could eventually seep into any unfilled areas of the canals, decaying there into toxic products. These toxic products will then seep out of the root end into the bone to cause more inflammation.

B.-  FILLING THE CANALS

The most commonly used filling material is a firm, waxy, rubbery compound called gutta-percha. It is manufactured into long, thin, tapering cones called gutta-percha points.

Step 1

The first gutta-percha point is inserted into the prepared canal. It matches the size of the last largest file used.


Click on Picture to Enlarge


Step 2

The dentist coats this point with a special liquid cement. The coated point is then inserted firmly to the end of the root. Wedged tightly, it completely seals off the canal off the end of the canals so that  no fluids can leak past it.


Click on Picture to Enlarge


Step 3

The dentist now packs the remaining portion of each canal with gutta-percha pieces up to level of the pulp chamber.  


Click on Picture to Enlarge


Step 4

Lastly, the dentist fills the tooth with a temporary protective cement.

root_c11.jpg (36637 bytes)
Click on Picture to Enlarge

 

RESTORING THE TOOTH AFTER ROOT CANAL THERAPY

Now that root canal therapy is finished, the dentist can repair the broken-down tooth crown that was damaged by decay.

Tooth decay that was bad enough to let bacteria into the pulp usually has destroyed much of the crown. Cleaning and shaping the canals further weakens the tooth. Such a tooth may break during chewing unless repair includes an internal post support followed by a fully covering crown.

PLACING POSTS

There are many internal post placement methods, all requiring great care, and precision. One approach for a badly broken-down lower molar is illustrated.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

The temporary filling is taken out, and two thirds out of the gutta-percha is removed from the left root. A stainless steel post is inserted.  


Click on Picture to Enlarge

A plastic mix flows into the tooth and around the post, and is built up well above the gum. It hardens and then is shaped to receive a crown.


Click on Picture to Enlarge

 

A crown is precision fitted.    

root_c15.jpg (34736 bytes)
Click on Picture to Enlarge


Questions & Answers

IS ROOT CANAL THERAPY PAINFUL?

Local anesthesia can make most teeth painless to treat.

Between treatments, aspirin-strength medications usually work well. Occasionally, a dentist must write a prescription for a stronger pain reliever.

ISNíT ROOT CANAL THERAPY QUITE EXPENSIVE?

Itís not, considering the time, patience, and skill needed to perform it. And the cost of root canal therapy is substantially less than the cost of a bridge needed to replace a tooth lost because root canal therapy was not done.

WHAT IS AN ENDODONTIST?

An Endodontist is a root canal therapy specialist. After four years of dental school, he or she takes two years of intensive specialty training. An Endodontist does both routine and complicated root canal cases.

DESPITE A DENTISTíS O ENDODONTIST BEST EFFORT, DO SOME ROOT CANAL THERAPIES FAIL?

Seldom. The odds for success in uncomplicated cases are excellent; in fact, they are well over 90%.

 Back to Dra. Rodriguez's Home Page   More Questions? Email:  Dra. Rodriguez  

The Rodriguez Dental Offices are Located in
Nogales Mexico or Nogales, Sonora, Mexico