Diagnosing Root Canal Issues with Minimal Discomfort
One of the most feared dental procedures is the root canal. People have a negative view of the procedure because of a bad experience, its cost, or the result. If the pulp of the tooth gets infected, a root canal is the only way to save it.
A good dentist can do a root canal with minimal discomfort to the patient and a high degree of success but there is still a chance that problems can occur.
The good news is that a new technology can help general dentists and root canal specialists diagnose root canal problems. The technology is called cone beam computed tomography or CBCT.
During the root canal procedure, the dentist makes a hole in the tooth and removes the infected nerves and blood vessels within the root of the tooth. The roots are shaped, disinfected, and filled. The success rate for the procedure is around 90 percent when it is done properly. If the root canal is successful, no pain is felt by the patient and there are no symptoms of infection. Then there’s the 10 percent chance that the root canal fails or infected. When this happens, the patient will continue to experience pain.
When the root canal fails, abscess will occur. There are several reasons why the procedure can fail such as infected blood vessels and nerves are left in the roots; tooth is damaged during the root canal; inert filling not completely sealed off; or the tooth fractures within the roots.
The CBCT can give a 3D view of the tooth to help dentists see if they missed nerves or roots, fractures, and the insides of the tooth. The failed root canal can be re-treated or an apicoectomy can be performed, which is the removal of the tip of the root.