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Endodontics (Root Canal)


Root Canal

This is a type treatment method performed when the dental pulp is unable to heal and repair itself. The pulp is a soft layer in the center of the tooth and consists of veins and nerves. Damaged or infected dental pulps can infect the tooth and the surrounding tissue area if not extracted.

Why Root Canal is needed?

If there is an infection or permanent damage to the pulp, root canal is needed. Untreated decayed pulp will cause infection. Due to decay enamel and dentin will have material losses that go down to the root and bacteria caused by the decay will cause an infection in the pulp. These infections, which are situated in the inner part of the tooth, are not responsive to antibiotics. This infection will cause a buildup of pus and this build up prevents the blood flow to the tooth. This is the reason why antibiotics are unable to reach the tooth via blood way. As it gets harder for the blood to reach the tooth, it gets harder for the pulp to heal itself. Fractures, chips, trauma, single or multiple fillings and such restorative procedures also start to harm the pulp. Also other dental procedures performed may also harm the pulp. Patients whom may have crowns installed may need a root canal prior to their treatment for the root of the tooth. In many cases even if there is no infection, the pulp may fester and then heal itself and return to normal. Prior to the root canal, a dental x-ray is taken and is examined to determine whether there is any sort of infection present. Pus in the pulp may cause main and infection. Infection in the pulp the can cause an abscess and cause damage to the surrounding bone structure around the tooth.

The aim of a root canal is to save the tooth by removing the infected pulp and the treat the infection then filling in the empty canal with special materials. If a root canal procedure is not performed, the tooth may need to be extracted. It is always preferred to protect the natural tooth. A single or multiple missing teeth can cause neighboring teeth to change location and disrupt their position. Preserving the natural tooth also prevents the needs for expensive treatments such as implants and bridges. In the event of an infected tooth not getting a root canal the tooth’s pus levels will increase infection levels in the body. Performing a root canal does not mean that the treated tooth will not need to be extracted in a few years. Generally, root canals are performed due to decays which are deep and have spread widely. This is why the tooth falls weak. Once the root canal is performed and the tooth is crowned or filled with composite fillings the same color as the tooth, the tooth can be used lifelong.

Treatment Steps

• If needed anesthesia is given. After anesthesia, to reach the pulp a cavity is opened up in the tooth. Then the lengths of the root canals are measured.

• X-rays are taken to determine the length of the canals. A rasp is put in the canal which is to be measured. Later on another image is taken to see how much the rasp has gotten closer to the end of the canal.

• The infection is cleaned with specially designed rasps. The canal is cleaned with antiseptic solutions and widened with the rasps. Then the canal is dried.

• For the root canal to have a successful result all the main and side canals must be cleaned. Generally front upper teeth have one, front lower teeth have one or two, small molars have one or two, and big molars have three or four canals. The shape and locations of the canals differ in individuals.

• For the cleaning of main and side canals, laser is used as to provide disinfection in areas where solutions are unable to reach.

• Canals are filled with permanent materials such as gutta-percha. Gutta-percha prevents infections and contamination in the canals.

• During the time the tooth is ready for a crown or permanent filling, the open area is closed with temporary fillings over the gutta-percha.

• The type of restoration that will be performed depends on the tooth. The tooth is restored with composite filling, inlay, crown or post &core crown. Molars may require crowns due to deformities because of chewing. Crowns aid in strengthening the tooth and protect it from fracturing. Crowns should be applied as quickly as possible. Ideally, it should be performed one month after the root canal. The permanent restoration of the tooth is important to prevent the tooth from further harm. Because temporary fillings are not very strong, permanent fillings should be put in. The removed pulp during a root canal is the part which reacts to heat. The patient who has received a root canal still may be sensitive to the dental pressure and touch in the surrounding tissue and nerve areas.

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