The very notion of visiting a dentist for a root canal treatment scares people out of their wits, but not anymore.
Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatment is a simple and painless procedure that ultimately relieves you of tooth pain. It helps in improving your oral health and is more cost-effective than extracting an infected tooth and replacing it with a new one. Also, you can get your tooth treated in a single visit.
Let’s take a look at this dental treatment and how it is done.
Below the enamel of the human tooth, there is a hard tissue called dentin and underneath it, a soft tissue called pulp is present. The pulp tissue houses the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels and other cellular bodies. When the pulp becomes infected or inflamed due to external or internal forces, it has to be removed in time or else the infection will spread to the root, leading to terrible pain and swelling.
Endodontics is the special branch of dentistry that focuses on treating issues inside the tooth, mostly of the dental pulp. Endodontic therapy or root canal therapy is the most common form of treatment. Here, the pulp chamber is opened, the damaged pulp is removed, the root canals are cleaned and sealed and finally, a filling or a crown is placed over the treated tooth.
The pulp gets infected or inflamed due to reasons like:
All these problems cause bacterial activity in the pulp tissue, eventually leading to its death. A dead pulp, if not removed, leads to an abscess – a pus like formation at the tip of the root. This, if left untreated, affects the tooth and the jawbone and then, the only option left would be to extract the infected tooth.
Certain signs and symptoms occur that indicate a root canal therapy is needed for your tooth.
In certain chronic cases, fever may also occur.
Root canal treatment offers a host of advantages:
Step 1: The dentist takes an X-ray of the tooth to be treated in order to understand the gravity of the infection.
Step 2: Before initiating the treatment, the tooth and surrounding areas are numbed using local anaesthesia.
Step 3: An opening is made in the upper part of the tooth to reach the pulp chamber.
Step 4: Using a special instrument called rotary file, the infected or dead pulp tissue is removed.
Step 5: Now, the length of the tooth up to the nerve space is measured with the help of X-rays or electronic means. This helps in estimating the length of the root canals so that it can be thoroughly cleaned and filled.
Step 6: The canals are cleaned well by flushing with antiseptics including saline to remove any debris. They are then shaped using flexible dental instruments.
Step 7: The cleaned root canals are filled with a rubbery material called Gutta Percha and sealed using adhesive cement. This is to avoid any further bacterial action.
Step 8: The hole drilled in the tooth to access the pulp chamber is closed using a temporary or permanent sealant.
After the dental procedure, a crown is placed over the tooth to protect the tooth from getting fractured or reinfected.