Root Canal Treatment
The root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp) and cleaning and disinfecting it, then filling it. The common causes affecting the pulp area cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma to it.
Decades ago, root canal treatments were painful. With dental advances and local anaesthesia, Nowadays Root Canal is nearly a Pain-Free Dental Treatment.
Root canal treatment consists of a number of steps depending on the situation. These steps are:
- The dentist examines and x-rays the tooth, and then local anaesthesia is administered to the affected tooth.
- An opening is made through the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or pre-molar to remove the diseased pulp, called a pulpectomy.
- Next, the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and shaped in preparation for a filling. This step is known as BMP(Bio-Mechanical Preparation)
- The final step involves root canal filling with non-resorbable gutta percha material in case of adults and resorbable filling in case of milk or deciduous teeth followed by a Crown.
In between the Root canal sittings, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. If the tooth is broken, a post may be required to build it up prior to placing a crown.
Planning a Root Canal
Many people worry that a root canal will be painful, something that was true in the past. Today, with advanced anaesthesia options and surgical techniques – a root canal is as comfortable as getting a filling. An infected tooth (pre-root canal), is usually what causes tooth pain, and a root canal is a solution to this problem. In fact, infected tooth pulp can cause a tooth abscess and can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth.
A treated and restored tooth can last a lifetime with proper care. Root canals have a high success rate and are significantly less expensive than the alternative, tooth extraction and replacement with a bridge or implant.
But tooth decay can still occur in treated teeth, so good oral hygiene and regular dental exams are necessary to prevent further problems.
To determine the success or failure of root canal treatment, dentists typically compare new X-rays with those taken prior to treatment. This comparison will show whether bone continues to be lost or is being regenerated.
Sometimes root canals are not successful because an infection develops inside the tooth, or the original infection was not fully removed. In these cases, an apicoectomy, a procedure where the infection and the root tip are removed and a filling placed, is done. Other times a second root canal is recommended.
What Causes the Pain?
The first thing to understand is that a root canal treatment itself is not the actual source of the pain experienced by most patients. Root canals are intended to relieve pain, not cause it. In fact, with today’s advances in anaesthesia and surgical techniques, the discomfort generally experienced during a root canal is no greater than that felt when having a tooth filled.
On the contrary, tooth pain is usually caused by damaged, infected tissue, such as the pulp; root canals remove this troublesome tissue and clean the area, stopping the infection and relieving the pain. Although the tooth and surrounding area might be sore for a few days, your dentist can prescribe medication to help alleviate the symptoms and allow you to get back to work almost immediately.
Isn’t It Better to Just Pull the Tooth?
The majority of dentists agree that keeping your natural tooth is preferable to removing it and replacing it with a bridge or implant. Root canals are one of the methods used to preserve a tooth, removing the damaged pulp rather than resorting to a costly and irreversible extraction that can cause much more stress to the body.