Root canal treatment is the one used for repairing and saving a tooth which is badly decayed, or that may get infected. During the procedure of root canal, the dentist removes the nerve and the pulp, and the inside portion of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. If this is left untreated, the tissue that surrounds the tooth may become infected, and abscesses may form.
The word “Root canal” is used to describe the natural cavity lying within the center of the tooth. This hole contains pulp or pulp chamber that is a soft area.
Root canal also contains the tooth’s nerve. The nerve is not vitally important to a tooth’s health and function after the tooth has fully grown out of the gums. The only function which it has is sensory, that is, to provide the sensation of hot and cold. Its presence or absence cannot affect the functioning of the tooth.
Problems to which root canal is a solution.
When damage is caused in the tooth’s nerve tissue or the pulp is damaged, it breaks down, and bacteria get an area to multiply. These bacteria and other decayed debris presents can lead to infection or an abscessed tooth.
An abscess is a hole filled with pus that forms at the end of the roots of the tooth. It occurs at the time when the infection has spread all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth. In addition to this, the infection in the root canal of the tooth may cause following problems:
- Swellings which may even spread to areas like face, neck or head.
- Loss of bone around the tip of the root
- Problems of drainage which may extend outward from the root. A hole may occur through the side of the tooth which may cause drainage into the gums or through the cheek, damage the skin.
- A tooth’s nerve and pulp can become irritated, inflamed, and infected due to reasons like deep decay, followed dental procedures on a tooth, large fillings, a crack or chip in the tooth, or due to a severe injury to a face.
Root canal treatment can be performed by a dentist or endodontist and may require one or more than one office visits.
- The initial step of the procedure is taking X-Ray to see the shape of the root canals and thus determine if any signs of infection are presenting in the surrounding bone.
- Then the dentist or endodontist uses local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth. The anesthesia is not necessary as the nerve is dead, but more dentists anesthetize the area so that the patient may feel more relaxed and at ease.
- Dentist or endodontist also places a rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) around the teeth to keep the area sterile and free of saliva during the process.
- Next, an access hole is drilled into the tooth.
- The pulp along with bacteria, the dead and decayed nerve tissue and other debris is removed from the tooth. Root canal files are used for this cleaning out process.
- A series of these files of increasing diameters are placed subsequently into the access hole and then are worked down the full length of the tooth to scrape and scrub the sides of the root canals.
- The debris is flushed periodically through water or sodium hypochlorite.
- After cleaning the tooth thoroughly, dentists seal the tooth.
In case the complete treatment is not completed on the same day, a temporary filling is placed in the exterior hole in the tooth to keep out contaminants like saliva and food appointments.
- The final step may involve further restoration of the tooth.
Advantages of the process.
- A toothache caused by severe dental caries are excruciating. A person may endure sleepless night due to the pain, and the root canal can relieve him of all the pain and discomfort.
- It saves tooth loss. In the end, the tooth will no longer be animate but remains in the mouth.
- Tooth extraction is reversible.
Disadvantages of the process.
- A root canal treated tooth is more prone to fractures due to its brittle nature.
- The procedure is more expensive than the process of tooth extraction.
- The procedure has many more complications than tooth extraction and may involve multiple stages.
According to Dr. April Toyer, a Woodbridge Dentist, root canal treatment is a very convenient and useful way to cure decayed gums and tissues and can help in the long run.