Root Canal Treatment
Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is required when the pulp or nerve inside of a tooth is exposed or infected due to dental cavities or trauma. When the nerve of your tooth becomes infected, a successful root canal treatment lets you keep the tooth rather than having to pull it out. Keeping your tooth helps to prevent your other teeth from drifting out of line and causing jaw problems. Saving a natural tooth avoids having to replace it with an artificial tooth.
Every tooth has a pulp that consists of nerves and blood vessels. When bacteria reaches to the pulp and causes an infection, toothache and abscess often develops. The body cannot clear out the bacteria from inside the tooth, so to eradicate the disease, a root canal procedure is warranted.
Not all dental infections involve pain immediately, if pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can eventually cause pain, swelling and loss of the supporting bone.
How is the root canal treatment performed?
Removal of the infected or inflamed pulp is the first step in saving the tooth. The tooth is first isolated with a rubber barrier to create a sterile environment. Under local anesthetic, an opening is made in the crown of the tooth to get access to the infected or inflamed pulp within.
Using small, specially designed hand or rotary files, the root canals are cleaned and shaped to a form that can be sealed from within. Debris with the canal is removed by flushing with an anti-bacterial solution.
The canals are finally filled or sealed with an inert material called gutta-percha. The tooth should be restored to full shape and function by either a permanent filling or a crown, depending on how much of the tooth is left. This should be done as soon as possible as there could be a risk of tooth fracture due to biting forces.
Root canal treatment may be done in single or multiple visits depending on tooth complexity. In between treatment appointments, medicament may be placed within the canals and the tooth is covered with a temporary filling.
Is Root Canal Treatment Painful
Root canal treatment procedures are relatively comfortable and often painless as the tooth is anesthetized during treatment. After treatment, the tooth may be sensitive or tender for a few days due to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This discomfort can be relieved by taking mild analgesics or painkillers available over the counter at the pharmacy.
However, if the pain persists, or gets worse (e.g. more intense; swelling), you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.
What Should I Do After Treatment?
Try to avoid chewing or biting on the tooth being treated until you have it permanently restored with either a filling or a crown. Excessive pressure at this stage may crack or fracture the tooth. Therefore, it is very important to restore the tooth properly as soon as possible. Most root canals treated teeth last as long as natural teeth following permanent restoration.
Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing at all times as root-filled teeth are as prone to decay as natural teeth. It is also important to have your treated tooth reviewed regularly by your dentist.