A root canal is a dental procedure that is necessary when the tooth nerve is inflamed or dead. The cause of such inflammation can be tooth decay, a broken tooth or trauma. The treatment aims to remove the inflamed or dead dental nerve and thus save the tooth.
In modern dentistry, root canal treatment is now one of the minimally invasive treatments performed by the dentist. Thanks to a cleverly applied local anesthesia, the entire treatment can be painless so that you can sit back and relax. Although the treatment guidelines are the same, root fillings differ qualitatively from dentist to dentist and even from tooth to tooth, depending on the canal anatomy. The connection between manual/machine technology and laser-assisted therapy of the diseased root in our practice allows us a very high success rate of the necessary root treatments. Thanks to the laser, we also achieve deep bacterial decontamination and disinfection of the canal system.
To date, root canal treatment is the only way to save an irreversibly infected tooth, i.e. to leave it in the dentition. Dead teeth contain toxins and waste products that put the body under stress, even if you don't feel pain! In rare cases, root inflammation is accompanied by no accompanying pain and the teeth are discovered as an incidental finding. The only alternative to root canal treatment is tooth extraction. If the tooth is extracted, the gap must be closed with a bridge, implant or a prosthesis, as teeth are functional units: they need neighboring and opposing teeth otherwise they will migrate or tip into the gaps.
The treatment of an inflamed or infected tooth consists of removing the diseased tissue, disinfecting the canal system and sealing it in a bacteria-tight manner using a root filling.
After the affected tooth is isolated using a so-called rubber dam to keep any bacteria away during the procedure, the dentist must create a small access to the root canal system. Once this step has been completed, the dentist can begin to clean and disinfect the root canals. Dead tissue material must be removed from the root canal along with tooth decay and bacterial breakdown products. The root canals can only be cleaned using very fine instruments and you have to be very careful not to penetrate too deeply into the root, otherwise the root tip can be injured. In our practice, we use lasers with great success in addition to classic instrumentation.
In many cases, subsequent stabilization of the tooth using fiberglass or titanium posts and crowning may be necessary because the teeth are weakened by caries and/or root canal treatment. In addition, “dead” teeth become brittle and therefore have a higher risk of fracture.
The idea that root canal treatment is painful is persistent. In fact, thanks to modern anesthesia methods, the procedure is usually painless. Possible postoperative pain can be well controlled by prescribing appropriate painkillers by the dentist. If you are unsure or afraid, sedatives or laughing gas can also be used.
The duration of a root canal treatment depends on several factors, such as the number of root canals and their shape. Simple cases can be completed within an hour, while more complex cases may require multiple sessions.
As with any medical procedure, there are risks with a root canal treatment. These include a possible reinfection of the treated tooth or a fracture of the tooth. However, both are relatively rare and usually only occur with improper follow-up care or previous illnesses.
A root-canaled tooth can bear normal loads again after it has completely healed. The tooth is often additionally reinforced with a crown to give it the stability it needs for everyday life. Crown additionally reinforced to give it the necessary stability for everyday life.
It is strongly recommended that you wait until the anesthesia has completely worn off before eating. This prevents you from biting yourself or otherwise injuring your mouth, which could delay healing.
Failure is rare, but it can happen. Possible causes include reinfection or incomplete removal of the inflamed or dead nerve tissue. In such cases, another root canal treatment or even a tooth extraction may be necessary.
A well-cared-for, root-canaled tooth can last for many years or even a lifetime. The prerequisite for this is careful oral hygiene and regular check-ups at the dentist.