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If the soft tissue of a tooth (the pulp) is inflamed, then this often leads to very intense and long-lasting tooth pain. In the past, the tooth would probably have been pulled; however, in many cases, modern dentistry offers the opportunity to permanently preserve the affected tooth with the help of endodontic (root canal) treatment. When it comes to endodontics, preserving the tooth is of paramount concern.

Why is endodontic treatment necessary?

Pulp consists of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. If bacteria find their way into the pulp, e.g. because of a deep caries or a gap between a tooth and filling, this might lead to inflammation. Oftentimes, such inflammations remain unnoticed, and the dentist might identify the inflammation on an X-ray, for example. Usually, the tooth will begin to ache intensely, suddenly, and for a long period. If such inflammations remain untreated, then the entire pulp will eventually be destroyed, leaving the jawbone affected as well. This leads to bone breakdown, purulent inflammations, and germs spreading through the bloodstream, causing illnesses in other parts of the body.
The only opportunity to eliminate these risks to the greatest extent possible and durably preserve the tooth is through timely treatment of the infected pulp.

What does a dentist do during a root canal treatment?

During a root canal treatment, the dentist removes the infected pulp tissue through the branched root canals. Cleaning solutions are used to clean and disinfect all cavities completely, to remove the germs. To eliminate the risk of a new infection to the greatest possible extent, the canals are filled up and provided with a bacteria-proof sealant. 

Root canal treatments are usually successful; however, in some cases, they might go awry. Where appropriate, the resulting situation might be successfully fixed by performing an apicoectomy or a reimplantation of the tooth.

How does modern technology assist during the treatment?

Modern technology makes today’s root canal treatments significantly easier, safer, and more successful than was imaginable in the past.

In our practice, we use high-performance microscopes by Leica, which allow us to take a highly amplified look into the tooth during the operation. With the help of this technology, called microscopic endodontology, the detection of all root canals is made much easier, allowing for the very precise execution of all treatment steps. 

Furthermore, the length of each root canal is determined with a high degree of precision using a computerised, electrical procedure.

Mechanical systems are also used to clean and disinfect the root canals. To name an example, the efficacy of the disinfecting agent is increased through sound or ultrasound activation.

During the follow-up appointments, the tooth and jaw structures can be looked at using 3D X-rays with digital volume tomography (DVT). This helps determine whether a new infection has flared up or whether that scenario can be ruled out.

Endodontic treatments have a high success rate nowadays, thanks in small part to the use of state-of-the-art technology.