The smaller branches, referred to as accessory canals, are most frequently found near the root end (apex) but may be encountered anywhere along the root length. The total number of root canals per tooth depends on the number of the tooth roots ranging from one to four, five or more in some cases. Sometimes there is more than one root canal per root. Some teeth have more variable internal anatomy than others. An unusual root canal shape, complex branching (especially the existence of horizontal branches), and multiple root canals are considered as the main causes of root canal treatment failures. (e.g. if the dentist does not notice a small secondary root canal branch so that it is cleaned and sealed, it will remain infected causing the root canal therapy to fail).
To understand root canal endodontic treatment, it helps to know something about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue and creates the surrounding hard tissues of the tooth during development.The dentist will place a rubber dam over your mouth. This plastic shield, made from either latex or nonlatex materials, is used to keep the tooth isolated from your saliva and very dry before the final steps are taken to complete the procedure. The dentist will use different chemical solutions to disinfect the inside of the tooth. The rubber dam is helpful in keeping these solutions from entering your mouth.
Root canal treatment may be done in 1 or 2 appointments. After root canal treatment, your tooth may be tender for the first week or two. Bad pain or swelling are NOT common. If this happens, call your dentist or endodontist.Your dentist will remove any remaining decay from the tooth and will decide to either put a temporary filling on to close the tooth or proceed with placing a permanent filling. If your root canal is performed by an endodontist; a dentist that specializes in root canals, he will place a temporary restoration and send you back to your general dentist for the restoration. Chances are, your dentist will recommend having a crown put on to the tooth. Since the nerve and blood supply to the tooth has been taken away, the tooth may become brittle over time, resulting in a cracked tooth. A crown is designed to prevent this from happening.
You may have heard people say that root canal treatment is very painful, or you may have had such an experience yourself. The most common reason for painful root treatment is that the dentist finds it difficult to make your tooth numb because of an acute abscess. This is not to say that general dentists cannot competently carry out root canal treatment. There are many who do enjoy it and who have done additional training in endodontic therapy since qualifying. But root canal treatment is not for everyone – it is very intricate, requires a lot of patience, a lot of time (which can be a big problem for NHS dentists in the U.K.) and many dentists don’t like doing it. So it’s best to agree up-front (even with an experienced dentist) that if any unforeseen problems are encountered, you would like to be referred on to an endodontist.