A root canal may be needed if the decay has reached the tooth's nerve.
Essentially, a root canal involves cleaning out a tooth's infected root, then filling and sealing the canal.
1) An opening is made through the crown of the tooth into the pulp chamber.
2) The pulp is removed, and the root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped.
3) The infected area is medicated.
4) The root canals are filled.
5) The crown opening is filled with a temporary filling.
Causes of a Root Canal
A cavity that has been left untreated can become larger. Once the cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth, an infection forms at the base of the root canal, causing an abscess. This abscess is generally painful and will need to be removed.
Post and Crown
When there is not enough tooth structure remaining after trauma, decay or a root canal procedure, then a post and crown will be utilized to restore the tooth to full form and function. A crown buildup is either composed of a bonded composite material or possibly an amalgam material. If a crown is placed on an unstable tooth foundation you will have a higher risk of having that crown fail. When the tooth has lost significant structure then a buildup is necessary in order to provide proper support of the new crown and to bring the tooth back to full function.
Sometimes the infection persists even after root canal therapy. In these cases, an apicoectomy, or root end resection can be performed to remove diseased tissue.
1) An incision is made to allow access to the base of the tooth. The inflamed or infected pulp is treated and the canals are carefully cleaned and shaped.
2) A small filling may be placed in the remaining tip of the tooth to seal the root canal. The gum tissue is stitched back into place.
3) A crown is placed to protect the tooth.