Root canal treatment is the cleaning of tiny channels in a tooth root and filling them with a form of rubber. St. Lawrence Dentistry will make every effort to avoid root canal treatments. However, some teeth will need this predictable and straightforward therapy. Root canal or ‘endodontics’ can be a painless experience, and patients are often surprised at the ease of the procedure and the pleasant aftermath. With modern techniques and tools employed by St. Lawrence Dentistry, the success rate of this procedure is very high.
The use of dental microscopes is the new standard of care for root canal therapy. Our office has two ‘Global’ dental microscopes, which aid in root canal therapy as well as other procedures requiring high magnification and precision. The reason why microscope use is critical is the canals in a tooth often have more than one central channel and do not always run straight. High magnification is needed to cleanse these canal spaces thoroughly. Older ‘legacy’ approaches to root canal treatment relied on the naked eye or surgical loupes, which meant undetected bacteria could remain in the tooth canal leading to inflammation and further infection. A state-of-the-art dental microscope will allow visual enhancements of the most subtle structures in the root canal and allow for the best treatment possible. Dr. Hawryluk uses the magnification and resolution of the microscope to deliver the highest standard root canal treatment for our valued patients.
The first step in root canal treatment is an accurate diagnosis. A root canal is needed when the pulp tissue (inner soft tissue of a tooth) is inflamed or infected. Often the tooth will hurt to tap on it (percussion positive), or it will be very tender to cold air. A bubble or ‘fistula’ around a tooth can signify the presence of bacteria. A dark area showing in the x-ray at the end of the root (periapical radiolucency) or an x-ray showing decay deep decay is often indicative of the need for a root canal.
Before commencing root canal treatment, Dr. Hawryluk often suggests very mild sedation with Ativan tablets and will discuss this option with the patient. These tablets make the procedure more comfortable, and it will feel like it will go by quicker. The patient cannot drive after taking Ativan, so they will have to arrange a ride home.
During the procedure, Dr. Hawryluk will make a small opening at the top of the tooth (occlusal or incisal surface) and then drill down until the soft pulp tissue is exposed. Then a dental dam is applied. The use of the dental dam is mandatory in Canada. It acts as a safety net for the small tools, provides the dentist with a clear working field, and makes sure saliva is not contaminating the canal system.
With the aid of the Global Dental Microscope, Dr. Hawryluk will start to clean the soft pulp tissue out of the tooth. The cleaning process is very accurate, thanks to modern tools that St. Lawrence Dentistry uses. The Root Zx ‘apex locator’ lets Dr. Hawryluk know how far to go into the tooth and accurately tells him where the end of the root is. Newly developed Coltene’ Hi-Flex’ files allow very efficient cleaning and shaping of the canal system.
After the canal space is cleaned, Dr. Hawryluk will sterilize the canals with Sodium Hypochlorite, EDTA, and sometimes Chlorhexidine. Then the canals are filled with Gutta Percha Rubber and root canal cement. Finally, a dental crown is placed which strengthens the tooth and protects it from fracture.
If you live in the Mississauga or Toronto area and would like to learn more about modern root canal treatment, please call St. Lawrence Dentistry.
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