A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it.
- Why Root Canal?
A dentist or endodontist uses root canal treatment to find the cause of and then treat problems related to the tooth’s soft core, the dental pulp. In the past, teeth with diseased or injured pulps often were removed. Today, root canal treatment has given dentists a safe way of saving teeth.
- What leads to Root Canal?
The pulp is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. It lies within the tooth and extends from the crown of the tooth to the tip of the root in the bone of the jaw. When the pulp is diseased or injured and cannot repair itself, it dies. The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let bacteria enter the pulp, causing an infection inside the tooth. During treatment, a general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) removes the diseased pulp. The pulp chamber and root canal of the tooth are then cleaned and sealed.
- What to expect during a Root Canal?
-X-ray – if a dentist suspects you may need a root canal, he will first take X-rays or examine existing X-rays to show where the decay is located.
-Anesthesia – local anesthesia is administered to the affected tooth. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is no more painful than a filling.
-Pulpectomy – an opening is made and the diseased tooth pulp is removed.
-Filling – the roots that have been opened (to get rid of the disease pulp) are filled with gutta-percha material and sealed off with cement.
- Root Canal –Types
–Manual: Hand instrumentation may require greater preparation time and stainless steel files larger than number 15 or 20 become inflexible with increased rigidity and tendency to straighten inside the canal causing complications of canal preparation as canal transportation, strip perforation, or pushing necrotic debris apically.
-Provides useful information that will enable dentists to predictably shape root canals.
-Greater Efficacy with respect to cleaning and shaping of canals.
- Benefits of root canal treatment:
-Virtually Pain-Free Procedure:
Root canal treatment is virtually painless and often leaves you with less discomfort during recovery than if you have your natural tooth extracted.
–Efficient & Cost-Effective:
The cost of dental treatment varies widely, but saving the tooth with a root canal is relatively cost-efficient.
-Visually Appealing Result
Crowns not only function like natural teeth but they alsoimprove your smile.
- Complications of Root Canal Treatment:
-Sometimes the dentist only finds three root canals in a tooth that has four. If one canal remains untreated, the infection might continueand spread into the bone.
-During the procedure, the root of the tooth may crack, or the instruments can break in the canal or perforate the canal. This makes it hard to fill the tooth effectively.
To avoid complications, patients should always follow the dentist’s instructions. If an antibiotic is needed, it is important to finish the entire prescription.
It is essential to have a permanent restoration placed, such as a crown, once the root canal therapy is complete.
- Root Canal After Care-Reduce Stress on the Tooth
-Choose Soft Foods
-Brush Teeth Gently
-Get Crown Placed
-Treat the discomfort as needed
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhy do I need root canal treatment?
-If tooth pulp becomes acutely inflamed or infected — because of decay or injury for example — the tissue will need to be removed in order to save the tooth and stop the infection from spreading.Is there an alternative?
-You could have the whole tooth extracted, but it’s always better to try to save it — especially since root canal treatment is routine and has a very high success rate (over 90%). Saving the tooth can prevent other troubles from occurring later on; these could include bite problems from teeth shifting position, difficulty eating, and loss of jawbone volume and density.Is root canal treatment painful?
-The procedure normally causes no more discomfort that a filling would. Root canal treatment may have a bad reputation, but it is undeserved; in this case it’s the disease that’s to blame and not the cure. In other words, the infections that make the treatment necessary in the first place are often painful because they are inflaming tissue that has lots of nerves and therefore is very sensitive. Root canal treatment actually relieves this pain!What will happen during the procedure?
-After numbing the area, a tiny hole is made in your tooth to access the pulp chamber and canals. The diseased tissue is removed, and the pulp chamber and the canal(s) are disinfected all the way to the root end(s).Those canals and the pulp chamber are filled with an inert, biocompatible material, and sealed with adhesive cement. The access hole will receive a temporary filling.What will happen afterwards?
-Your tooth may feel sensitive for a few days, but any discomfort can usually be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. You will be instructed to avoid chewing on that tooth until it receives its permanent filling, which can be placed a few days later. Depending on how damaged the tooth was to begin with, it may need a full-coverage crown.How can I avoid the need for root canal treatment in the future?
-Keep your teeth decay-free by brushing and flossing every day. Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and avoid acidic beveragesHow long will a root canal last?
-It will save your natural tooth and allow you to keep it functional for decades — if not a lifetime.