Root canal therapy is dental procedure where a tooth with an inflamed dead nerve or infection is cleaned and filled as an alternative to having it removed.
Other reasons why a tooth may need a root canal include direct tooth trauma from an accident or when the remaining tooth structure is insufficient to build it up to its original shape. In this case a “dental post” may need to be made to gain extra support for the final filling.
An example of a tooth needing root canal is shown here in the diagram to the left.
There are five main factors considered before a root canal is recommended:
- Restorability – If a root canal therapy is performed, is there enough tooth structure remaining for it to last long-term?
- Gum Health – Is gum disease present around the affected tooth? Has gum disease made the tooth loose or mobile?
- Function & Cosmetics – Will removal of this tooth adversely affect your ability to chew or show in your smile?
- Risks of Tooth Removal – Do you have a bleeding disorder or take medication that affects the jaw bone’s ability to heal after tooth removal?
- Risks to Health – Is your infected tooth so badly infected that it has spread to the surrounding bone? Do you suffer with unstable chronic disease or is your immune system so weak that there is a risk your infected tooth is causing septicemia?
Our recommendations on root canal therapy are simple:
For a healthy person with no large spread of infection present then a root canal performed well is a suitable option. For those in poor health with unstable chronic disease and significant tooth infection then it is best to consider other options.