Pulp cap and pulpotomy
If decay removal or a tooth fracture results in a small part of a healthy pulp becoming exposed, our dentist may try to retain the pulp vitality, or keep the pulp alive. This is achieved by placing a special layer of material, which promotes the formation of new dentine, on top of the exposed pulp before placing a filling. This technique is called a direct pulp cap.
Alternatively, if only the exposed part of the pulp appears to be infected or inflamed then just the top half of the pulp can be removed, from within the pulp chamber. This leaves the healthy pulp still alive in the root canals which can be sealed off and protected before the tooth is filled. Follow-up X-rays and vitality tests are necessary to monitor the success of these 'vital pulp' techniques.
If a tooth has been root filled to a high standard but there is still ongoing infection in the bone at the tip of the root it might not be possible to attempt a re-treatment without damaging the tooth. In these cases a dentist might raise a flap of gum and remove bone to expose the tooth root.
The leaking root tip can be then be cut off and the root canal sealed directly to ensure that no bacteria can leak from within the remaining root canal. This procedure usually takes about an hour and is performed under local anaesthesia.
Root amputation is a specialized dental procedure, whereby one root is removed from a multi-root tooth.
The tooth is then stabilized and rendered fully functional with a crown or filling.
Root Canal Retreatment
In rare cases, root canal therapy fails to work as expected. The treated tooth might not heal properly or a patient might experience post-surgical complications that jeopardize the tooth. Root canal retreatment involves the removal of the previous crown and packing material, the cleansing of the root canals, and the re-packing and re-crowning of the tooth. In short, root canal retreatment is almost identical to the original procedure, aside from the structural removal.
Root canal treatments and retreatments are a better alternative than extraction for most individuals. If a tooth has good bone support, a solid surface and healthy gums beneath it, it stands a good chance of being saved.
Root Canal Therapy
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, which restore the tooth to its full function.
Having a root canal done on a tooth is the treatment of choice to save a tooth that otherwise would die and have to be removed. Many patients believe that removing a tooth that has problems is the solution, but what is not realized is that extracting (pulling) a tooth will ultimately be more costly and cause significant problems for adjacent teeth.
Root canal treatment is highly successful and usually lasts a lifetime, although on occasion, a tooth will have to be retreated due to new infections