Root canal therapy (RCT)
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. In order to save the tooth, the pulp (the living tissue inside the tooth), nerves, bacteria, and any decay are removed and the resulting space is filled with special, medicated, dental materials.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die or cause infection the mouth and surrounding tissues. The alternative is to remove the tooth but this can lead to significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and has a great long term prognosis.
Signs and symptoms for possible root canal therapy:
What does root canal therapy involve?
A root canal procedure usually requires two to three appointments. The tooth is cleaned first with a series of root canal files. Access to the nerve is done most commonly through the centre of the tooth from the top. A specialised medication along with a temporary filling is done to seal the tooth and disinfect the area. At the follow up appointment (usually 2-3 weeks) the roots are filled and sealed with a filling. It is common practice to place a crown over the tooth to give the root canal the best seal and long term prognosis.
After treatment, your tooth may still be sensitive, but this will subside as the inflammation diminishes and the tooth has healed. You will be given care instructions after each appointment. Good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your root canal treatment.
Tooth extraction (Tooth removal)
There are numerous situations in which a tooth removal can help alleviate pain or prepare you for another cosmetic or restorative procedure. Some common reasons for extraction include:
This procedure is done under local anaesthetic and can vary in appointment time from as little as 15 minutes to 90 minutes. Once a tooth is removed, we will pack gauze into the socket and have you place pressure on the area by biting down for at least 30 minutes. If necessary, the dentist will place stitches to close the socket. Healing time varies from 2-7 days depending on the severity of the condition of a tooth and complexity of the procedure.
After care instructions will be given to you prior to leaving the clinic. This includes pain management, effective cleaning and how to best manage your gums where the tooth was removed. It is very important all medical conditions and medications are disclosed to the dentist prior to any tooth removal
Wisdom teeth extractions
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that erupt at the back of the mouth (top and bottom). They generally make their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25.
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to adjacent teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors. A panoramic x-ray is vital in diagnosing any issues with your wisdom teeth. This will also reveal the position of associated nerves and sinuses that may impact how the procedure is performed.
An impacted wisdom tooth has partial gum coverage over a tooth and hence is difficult to keep the area clean. This is an easy food trap area and can cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling. Sometimes a wisdom tooth erupts full into the mouth but due to difficulty keeping this tooth clean, an extraction is warranted to prevent long term issues.
Wisdom teeth removal is performed under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. The suitability is determined from your x-ray and medical history. Post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary) will be given by your dentist to help manage any swelling or discomfort.