Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is a dental procedure used to treat a tooth with an infected dental pulp. Reviewing the root canal system will allow us to appreciate the importance of this treatment.
The Root Canal System
The root of a tooth is hidden from the naked eye. What you can see is the crown of the tooth which consists of the hard enamel coating. But the root of the tooth is internal extends beyond the gums into the bone of the jaw. Its surface is coated by a hard material called the cementum and has a soft tissue in the centre known as the pulp.
Conditions That Require Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is required when tests reveal that bacteria has infected the pulp. When bacteria attack the pulp of the tooth, it can get damaged rapidly. The bacteria may even multiply and create an infection in the tooth. Infection of the pulp could be caused by various reasons such as improper hygiene practices, decay or an injury.
Initial symptoms of pulp infection include a loose tooth, a painful sensation when chewing food, or when sipping on cold or hot drinks. If the infection is not treated promptly, the initial symptoms may cease temporarily due to the death of the pulp.
When this happens, you may conclude that your tooth is healed because you do not feel any pain. But the infection has overwhelmed the root canal. Subsequently, you may discover that you feel a sharp pain while chewing food, which may be accompanied by swelling of the gum, facial swelling and a change in the colour of the tooth.
It is vital to go to your dentist early if you notice any pain. Do not allow the infected tooth to remain untreated because an infected pulp cannot heal on its own. The earlier the treatment is done, the more effective it will be. Restoring the pulp becomes more difficult if it is overwhelmed by bacteria.
Procedure for Root Canal Treatment
- Teeth Examination: The first step is to examine the suspected tooth properly. This is done using x-rays, which will allow us to see where the decay is precisely located on the tooth.
- Numbing the tooth: Local anesthesia is administered on the affected tooth to ensure that there is minimal pain during the procedure
- Removing infected pulp tissue: From the top of the crown, an opening is created. Then the infected pulp is taken out.
- Filling the root canal: The root is filled with gutta-percha material before it is sealed with cement.
- Rebuilding the tooth: A temporary filling material is positioned on the opening of the crown to seal it. This temporary filling will remain there until a crown, or permanent filling is placed on it. The tooth restoration is necessary because the tooth needs to look and work as it did in its natural state.
The restoration can be done using a filling, crown, or bridge. Our dentists will select the correct restoration method after analyzing the strength of the remaining tooth. In most cases, back teeth are restored using a crown due to the constant pressure they withstand from chewing food.
You Should Also Know
Root canal treatments are completed in one or two sessions. You may feel discomfort in your mouth because the tooth will be tender for 1-2 weeks. However, if you feel excessive pain or swelling, please contact us because these are not common after a root canal treatment.
Root canal treatments are usually successful. However, there are a small number of cases in which a second root canal treatment is required. Moreover, there is a procedure known as root canal surgery, in which a root canal treatment was not effective, or a conventional root canal treatment is not possible. Notably, these conditions are rare. However, patients receiving a root canal treatment should still understand all