When our teeth erupt they have a living nerve inside them. This tooth nerve is what allows for blood, coming from very small vessels, to reach the inside of the tooth roots and gives important indication about the temperature of the food we eat or drink.
The tooth nerve is what allows awareness of a potential aggression being suffered that can be harmful for the tooth structure. Trauma, excessive biting pressure, extreme temperatures (such as ice cream or boiling tea & coffee) even sugary or acidic food can trigger a tooth nerve response. The tooth sensitivity we feel from such stimulus are more often then not a protective warning sign coming from the tooth nerve to make us stop what we are doing.
Sometimes, following an injury, the tooth root nerve dies and this can result in infection episodes, also called dental abscess.
Tooth decay, previous recent or old fillings, teeth that sustained a trauma can all result in a dead tooth nerve and the need for root canal treatment.
The main goal of a root canal treatment, also called endodontic treatment, is the removal of a damaged nerve from the inside of a tooth. It is a last resort procedure carried out to prevent infection or allow for the healing of infection (i.e. dental abscess) in order to make it possible to retain the damaged tooth on someone´s mouth. By preventing infection and tooth abscess, a root canal treatment will allow to re-establish its functions, including mastication, phonetics and aesthetics.
But how long will a root treated tooth last? Root treated teeth are weaker than teeth without a previous root canal treatment.
The root canal treatment per se will implicate tooth structure loss to access the nerve. We will explain the process more in detail: root canal treatment involves drilling the tooth at its coronal portion (part of the tooth visible and outside the gum) for a access and to permit an adequate disinfection of the root canals and the subsequent filling with an inert material. Unfortunately this procedure also makes the root treated tooth more brittle and vulnerable to fracture. Thus, it is highly recommended to protect from any further damage, the treated tooth with a crown.
In order to give back the tooth integrity again, this tooth crown can then be made of a very resistant material at a dental Laboratory and should be placed as soon as the root canal treatment is completed.
Nowadays we can achieve the best aesthetic results, making the new tooth mimics naturally with the rest of the teeth.