Root Canal Therapy
What is Root Canal Therapy (RCT)?
Root Canal Therapy is a dental procedure that involves completely removing the nerve within the tooth and subsequently filling the space with an inert plastic-like material. It is required when the nerve "dies" as a result of extensive decay in the tooth or a large filling or crack.
What to expect if your dentist recommends that you undertake RCT?
Your dentist will spend some time determining whether your tooth will benefit from a root canal treatment, or whether there are more suitable alternative options. A root canal generally requires multiple visits. At the first visit, the aim of the treatment is to get you out of pain. A special rain coat (rubber dam) is placed to separate the affected tooth. A hole is then drilled through the top of the tooth to access the nerve. The nerve is removed by placing small files down the narrow canals and the debris is washed out.
An antibiotic/anti-inflammatory dressing in placed inside the canals and a temporary filling is placed in the tooth. At the next visit, time is dedicated to careful cleaning and shaping of the canals. The last visit involves filling the canals with heated plastic-like points. After the RCT is completed a new filling or crown is often required to replace the temporary filling. The images below display various stages of the process (click for larger view).