Sometimes a tooth can get infected when the bacteria that are present in a deep cavity enter the nerve. The result is a painful area that is known as an abscess. A root canal (endodontic therapy) is a procedure where the infected nerve tissue is cleaned out from the inside of the tooth and the canals in the root(s) of the tooth are disinfected. This allows the tooth to be saved from extraction. Contrary to the myth that a root canal treatment is very uncomfortable, most patients experience little to no discomfort during the procedure!
At times, an injured or fractured tooth may also require a root canal, especially if the fracture results in the nerve being exposed to bacteria in the mouth. Front teeth are the most susceptible to traumatic injury especially when one participates in contact sports without the use of a proper mouth guard and in patients with an “overbite” where the front teeth extend beyond the lower teeth.
Once a root canal treatment is completed, it is often recommended that the treated tooth is protected with a crown. Without a crown, root canal treated teeth can end up becoming more brittle and are more susceptible to fracturing in the future. This is especially true for the back teeth. Front teeth are also recommended to get crowns because the root canal process may result in discolouration of the teeth over time. Crowning a root canal treated tooth thus results in increased strength and a more aesthetic result. An alternate treatment to help with darkened teeth, if crowns are not a feasible option, would be bleaching. Whitening teeth through bleaching can be done internally or externally. If this is an option you wish to discuss, please let us know.