Root canal therapy
Due to tooth decay, trauma or cracks within a tooth, the nerve and blood vessels inside of the tooth can become irritated and infected, causing a toothache or an abscess. Root canal therapy aims to remove the irritated or infected tissues and disinfect the inside of the tooth, thus, allowing you to keep your tooth. Generally, your own tooth is much stronger and functions more efficiently than an artificial tooth replacement.
How successful is root canal therapy?
Root canal therapy is a highly predictable therapy. Your tooth will only be treated if there is a good chance it will last a long time.
However, if we discover that the tooth cannot be built back up, has deep cracks or cannot be disinfected to an appropriate level, we will advise you that the tooth has a poor prognosis. In rare cases, even with our best effort, we may not be able to control the infection within the tooth, leading to the tooth being removed.
What are my other options?
There is no real substitute for your own tooth.
The only alternative method of removing the infection is to remove the offending tooth. If you do not have the tooth replaced with an artificial one, the adjoining teeth may shift into its place, interfering with your bite and chewing. Replacing your tooth with an artificial tooth often involves more complex treatment such as bridgework or implants.
I have been told that the tooth needs a “cap” after root canal therapy.
Often infected teeth are heavily broken down, heavily filled or have cracks. Thus, these teeth need to be built back up and strengthened to protect them from breaking down again. This is achieved with the capping/crowning of the tooth with the strongest and more durable materials such as porcelain, gold and zirconia. They are custom made in the dental laboratory.