Many people dread root canal treatment (also known as endodontic treatment). However, modern root canal treatment is a mostly painless process. If the case is suitable, root canal treatment can even be completed in a single session. This would mean less time keeping the jaw open, less time spent in the dental chair and fewer injections.
A root canal treatment is needed when the nerve of the tooth (known as the pulp) becomes infected, causes pain, or becomes necrotic (dead). During root canal treatment, an access cavity is drilled through the tooth in order to access the root canal system of teeth. The inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the roots are carefully cleaned, disinfected and sealed.
The use of an operating microscope can help in locating all the canals and detecting cracks by providing magnification.
During the root canal procedure, a few x-rays will be required in order to ensure that the canals are properly cleaned and sealed. In a small percentage of difficult cases, a 3-dimensional x-ray may also be necessary.
Teeth that have undergone root canal treatment tend to be weaker and may fracture over time, which can render the root canal treatment futile. Thus, onlays or crowns are recommended to protect the teeth (especially premolar and molars) that have undergone root canal treatment.