DescriptionA root canal-treated (RCT) or root-filled tooth is one in which the dental nerve, commonly called the pulp, is intentionally removed and is filled with an inert material called gutta percha.
Once an RCT is performed, the tooth must be restored with a post and a crown. These will strengthen the tooth and prevent a crack or fracture from developing after treatment. A good analogy is a tree branch.
Does tooth pain indicate i need a root canal?
A dentist first will tap on several teeth and look for signs of an abscess or a radiograph. A tooth with constant or severe pain does not necessarily indicate the need for a root canal.
These include sinus infections, myofascial pain, neurovascular disorders, neuralgias (a common cause), neuritis (a viral infection of the tooth), neuropathy, and neuromas. Even heart attacks can refer pain to the teeth of the lower jaw.
How is a root canal properly diagnosed?
A root canal is a treatment, not a diagnosis. Good dentistry, like good medicine, starts with a proper diagnosis of the tooth.
Some dentists argue that a diagnosis is academic and a waste of a patient’s time. The result is always the same, they say, a root canal. However, establishing a true diagnosis of tooth pain may avert an unnecessary root canal of an otherwise healthy tooth.
Other causes of tooth pain, other than those listed above, can include decay, bite trauma, bruxism, referred pain, nerve disorders and cracked teeth. These causes result in various effects, such as tooth nerve infection, inflammation and ischemia.
What is the Success rate of root canals and what constitutes failure?
With recent improvements in technology, root canal success rates are estimated between 86% and 98% that means that as many as one tooth in seven may be classified as a root canal failure.
The reasons for root canal failure are not entirely clear. Failure may occur predictably on teeth which have a poor clinical result. This might be caused by doctor error, the inability to clean out all the canals, or the failure to place a post or crown after the root canal.
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