Root Canals (Endodontics)
Patients need a root canal when decay in a tooth has spread so far as to reach the 'heart' of the tooth, thereby infecting the roots where the nerve and blood vessels keeping the tooth alive live, and causing the tooth to die. The dead 'heart' of a tooth then starts causing an infection in the bones around the roots of the teeth. As the infection grows, it causes a pressure build up in an already tight space, and this can often cause very intense – and sometimes throbbing – pain.
Overview of the steps in a root canal
The purpose of root canal therapy is to remove this dead soft 'heart' of the tooth, and the hard tissues inside the tooth that have been infected by this dead nerve. At R&H Clinica Dental we use advanced rotary endodontic technology is most cases, for a more consistent and effective result. Occasionally, when the situation demands it, we may use the old technique of hand files too.
We are also one of the only Dental Clinics in Marbella with a Full-facial 3D X-Ray Machine which can facilitate greatly in the correct diagnosis, and effective dental treatment of difficult root canal procedures. Call us to arrange a Free Consultation and X-rays.
How do you know if you’ve had a great Root Canal Treatment done?
The essentials of well-done root canal treatments, that have a highly successful prognosis depends on a few important factors. Firstly, we always tell our patients, that a good root canal takes time! The disinfectants we use to clean inside the root canal chamber actually need a certain amount of ‘contact time’ with the dental tissues inside your tooth to work. When getting a root canal treatment with us you’ll notice we repeatedly rinse inside your tooth a syringe. We don’t take any shortcuts and do this to ensure we’ve completely disinfected the canals.
The other important factor is to ensure that the final root filling is to within 1mm of the apex (or tip) of the tooth. If it’s not, then the root canal was probably not done properly. At R&H Clinica Dental, we will always show you your before and after root canal x-rays, so that you can see that we have in fact filled your tooth to the apex. As a patient you are entitled to see all your x-rays, and you should ask your dentist to share with you how the treatment is going based on your x-rays.
Below are a few other important points to consider:
- Was a rubber dam used? This shields the inside of your root canal from the millions of bacteria found in the saliva.
- Were at least three x-rays taken during the root canal treatment? One before you start; at least one (preferably two) mid-treatment to ensure that the cleaning and filling is going to be to the correct length; one at the end of the treatment to ensure it was done correctly.
- Was ultrasonic activation used? This is a technical point, but basically means that after a lot of rinsing, did you dentist put in a instrument that sounds like the ones used when you get a dental cleaning, and basically ‘vibrate’ the disinfectant solution inside your canals? This is important as it flows the solutions to other impossible to reach nooks and cranies.
- After your dentist reached to the 'working length' (i.e. length of your roots), did he or she spend a very long time continually disinfecting the canals over and over again? This is when most treatments fail: either the dentist didn't reach the 'apex' of the tooth, and/or then did spend a very long time continually disinfecting the canals. This 'contact time' with the internal canal walls is essential for achieve success in root canal therapy, and why you may be surprised that our root canal procedures are much longer than most other dental clinics. We don't take any shortcuts and have a very high success rate for our root canals.
- Was the disinfectant solution heated? At R&H Clinica Dental you’ll notice we have a water bath behind you when we are doing the root canal. Studies show heating up the sodium hypochlorite (the root canal disinfectant) to 60 degrees Celsius, increases the killing ability 100 fold, and aids significantly in dissolving the dead nerve tissue in your root canals.
- Were your root canals filled with heated materials, or only cold? Heated materials plug up all the mini branches that exist in a root canal system, and have completely revolutionized root canal therapy. Cold 'lateral condensation' methods are now out dated and there exist much more effective techniques, such as the methods we employ at R&H Clinica Dental.