Dr. SP Papavarnavas    Dental Surgeon
     BChD (Pretoria) BMedSc (Bloemfontein)


Root Canal

Root Canal Therapy

Each tooth is consists of three main parts. The outer layer called the enamel covers the softer inner layer called dentin as well as the soft tissue referred to as dental pulp. The dental pulp is made up of nerve tissue, lymph tissue and blood vessels and is the vital, sensitive part of the tooth.

Sometimes the dental pulp can be traumatised by becoming exposed to bacteria. This can occur through an untreated tooth decay or by a tooth being damaged or fractured. When this happens, severe infection sets in leading to the formation of an abscess with associated intense pain. If not treated correctly, the tooth can begin to die. This is when root canal therapy is required to eliminate the infection and save the tooth.

The root canal therapy is a dental process that gets rid of the infected pulp tissue from the tooth's interior. The canals are tiny passageways under the pulp chamber that have to be cleaned out and made hollow. This is done using flexible nickel titanium files.

Once all the debris has been removed, the tooth is disinfected. The canals are then filled with elastic materials and medication that will prevent further infection from recurring. The tooth is then permanently sealed.

Root Canal is needed

There are several conditions that may indicate that you have a problem with a tooth that may require root canal therapy, as follows:

  • Severe pain when chewing or applying pressure.
  • Intense sensitivity to hot or cold.
  • Swelling and tenderness to the surrounding gum area.
  • Tooth becoming discoloured.
  • Visible infection during x-ray examination.

A severe infection can be very dangerous and therefore it is vitally important to get professional dental advice and to analyze the cause of a toothache. If an infection spreads beyond the jaw to the head and neck, then more radical medical treatment may be required often requiring hospitalisation.

Speak to Dr. Papavarnavas if you think you have a problem....


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