What is a Root canal?
Root canal therapy or treatment is the elimination or the removal of the pulp present in the tooth. Root canal treatment is usually performed when the tooth pulp is infected (by bacteria), inflamed or dead. These bacteria penetrate deep inside the tooth and cause an infection that can result in the inflammation or death of the nerves. Root canal treatment may be done in case of tooth decay or cavity, discoloration of the tooth and certain development of pus etc.
Root canal treatment is also known as endodontic treatment. It is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry that is very commonly practice nowadays. This procedure can be done with less pain.
What are the common causes of tooth pulp infections or damages?
Tooth pulp damage is commonly caused due to following reasons-
- Due to a broken tooth.
- Due to a deep dental carries or cavity. Lack of treatment of these cavities can cause infection to the pulp.
- Due to a severe injury to a tooth such as a severe blow to the tooth.
The main aim of root canal treatment is to prevent the spread of the infection to the nearby areas of the mouth. When the pulp is infected by the bacteria, it causes severe pain with abscesses. If left untreated, an infected pulp can result in the formation of pus at the tip of the root (in the jawbone). An abscess can damage the bones adjoining the tooth.
Root canal treatment prevents the spread of the infection to the oral cavities. If the tooth is not treated, it can result in the lost of the tooth. Alternative to root canal treatment is tooth extraction. If the tooth is severely damaged and there is no chance of recovery, then tooth extraction is the only option.
How root canal treatment is done?
The treatment may consist of several steps and may require several visits to the dentistry office. The main steps involved are-
- The first step involves the opening of the infected tooth which is done by drilling down through an infected tooth.
- After that an infected or diseased pulp is removed from the tooth. The drilled tooth through the root canal is then cleaned with some disinfectant solutions to ensure that the root canal completely get rid of the infected pulp or tissues to prevent the occurrence of an infection.
- In the next step, if the patient needs one more visit, a transitory filling is usually placed in the opening for protection against any infection.
- Once the temporary filling is removed, a dentist will do the filling of the root canal permanently. A rubbery, bio-compatible material known as gutta-percha is used for permanent fillings of the root canals. The gutta-percha is shaped according to the area of the root canal and inserted into the empty root canal. It is then sealed into the root canal with cement.
- A crown may be placed above the tooth to give its natural appearance and shape.
How long the treatment will last?
The treatment can last for a lifetime but proper care and oral hygiene is required to prevent the reoccurrence of an infection. But in some cases the procedure may need to be repeated.
What about the pain?
A local anesthesia is injected to your gums and the adjoining tooth area. This will numb the area and patient will experience no pain. However, in some cases you may experience mild pain or sensation for few days after the treatment.
As the root canal treatment is a long procedure, so a patient may also feel bit uncomfortable sitting in the chair for longer.