Root Canal Treatment: All You Need to Know
What is the root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment, also known as an ‘endodontic treatment’, is a very common procedure performed by General dentists or Endodontists on a regular basis. In this article, we are going to discuss the steps of the root canal procedure along with the underlying pathology and symptoms with which a patient may present requiring such treatment.
However, before we look into the details it’s essential to know about the basic anatomy of the tooth to understand the procedure in a better way.
Basic Anatomy of a Tooth:
A tooth comprises of the visible white part called enamel which is underlined by a hard layer known as dentin. Beneath these two layers is a soft tissue known as dental pulp. All the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue that are responsible for making the hard tissues during developmental stages are found here in the dental pulp. It is the infection and inflammation of this soft tissue that may eventually necessitate the use of this treatment.
What causes the infection or inflammation of the dental pulp?
There are several factors responsible for triggering the whole process. It could be due to an injury of the tooth with or without any visible cracks or chips that might damage the pulp or it could happen due to deep decays or repeated dental procedures.
What symptoms may call for a dental visit?
Whatever may be the cause, it’s important to get your tooth checked immediately if you start to develop symptoms like severe pain on eating or biting of food, swollen and tender gums, deep decay, increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, or formation of pimples on the gums. Any delays can lead to the development of complications such as abscess formation.
What are the steps of a Root Canal treatment?
Root canal treatment can be done in one or two sittings and consist of the following steps:
• The process starts with an oral examination to inspect the condition of the infected tooth followed by an x-ray to localize the site of infection.
• Then a local anesthetic is given to numb the tooth and a dental dam is placed to keep it separate and dry from other teeth and saliva, respectively.
• Then a small instrument is used to create a hole in the crown to access the pulp and remove it, followed by the disinfection of space with an irrigant or antibiotics. The instrument is also used to shape it for the insertion of filling.
• This space is then filled with a biocompatible rubber-like material such as gutta-percha and in certain cases, secured in place with the use of metal or plastic rod or post.
• It is then covered with a temporary filling to prevent bacterial invasion.
• On the next visit, the dentist may remove the temporary filling and replace it with a crown to increase its stability and strength to make sure it lasts for a long period of time.
Is Root Canal Treatment a better option than the Extraction of a tooth?
Extraction of the infected tooth could be another option that some people may prefer due to the complexity of the root canal procedure. However, removing a tooth has its setbacks such as it may cause misalignment of the surrounding teeth making it difficult to chew the food. Also, replacing an extracted tooth with an implant is a very expensive and time-consuming process, with the risk of affecting nearby teeth and tissues.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, implants can never be as functional as natural teeth. Moreover, due to the high rates of success of root canal procedure, it is mostly preferred over the extraction of teeth.
Caring for root canal treatment:
Maintaining proper oral hygiene and going for routine dental examinations remain to be the most effective ways to both prevent and increase the sustainability of this treatment. Hence, proper care should be taken and in case of the development of any worrisome signs, it is advisable to report to the doctor immediately to avoid any undesirable outcomes.
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