A dental procedure to save a tooth in which the pulp – the living tissue in the tooth – has died or become so diseased it’s untreatable, usually as the result of extensive tooth decay.
How is it done?
X-rays are taken to establish the length of the pulp cavities in the roots of the teeth. Local anaesthetic is given to numb the tooth and to prevent infection, a small sheet of rubber is used to isolate the tooth from saliva.
Step 1: A hole is drilled into the crown of the tooth to remove all material from the pulp chamber. The root canals are enlarged and shaped with fine-tipped drills.
Step 2: The cavity is washed and antibiotic paste and a temporary lining are packed into it. About a week later the filling is removed and the canals checked for sterility.
Step 3: If no infection can be found, the cavity is filled with a sealing paste or a mixture of resin with zinc and bismuth. The roots are sealed with a dental cement.
In the long term
Root canal treatments can function well for as long as normal teeth, though they may turn slightly grey. However, their former colour can be restored by bonding or bleaching…Read more
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