Dentistry

Procedure

Root Canal Treatment

Description

A root canal treatment is a dental procedure to repair a badly decayed or infected tooth. This procedure is performed when the pulp of containing blood vessels and nerves inside the tooth becomes infected. The procedure involves removing the damaged part (pulp), and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. Eliminating the pulp from the tooth does not affect the functionality of the tooth as it only helps is providing hot and cold sensation. The procedure was used to be extremely painful in earlier days, however, with the advancement in technology and the use of local anesthesia, people now experience a little or no pain during the root canal treatment.

You may require the treatment if you suffer from severe tooth pain, prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold water, darkening of the tooth, tenderness and swelling in nearby gums and recurring pimples on the gums.

Procedure of Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment can be performed by either a dentist or an endodontist, based on the severity of the cause. The doctor will first take x-ray of the affected area to determine the shape of the root canal and any signs of infections in the nearby bones. You will be given local anesthesia to help you get relaxed. A rubber dam will be placed around your tooth to keep your mouth dry and free of saliva.

After that, a hole will be drilled into the affected tooth and the pulp, bacteria and other debris will be removed. Once accomplished, with the help of root canal files, the doctor will clean the inner teeth using sodium hypochlorite or water. Once the tooth is free from infection and thoroughly cleaned, it is time to seal the tooth. Some dentists wait for a while to seal it up if there is still infection present in the tooth. He/she will put a medication in the tooth and on their next visit, the cleaning and sealing will be done. To seal the tooth, a sealer paste and rubber compound called gutta-percha is used, which fills the hole created to access the infection.

At last, restoration of the tooth may be required as a tooth with root canal has a higher chance of other weaknesses as well such as extensive decay. In order to prevent it, the dentist will discuss things further with you.

Complications

It is not entirely necessary that after the root canal treatment, the infection will be gone completely and won’t ever come back. Despite the dentist’s best effort, there could be some complications, which are:

  • Possible infection to nearby tooth, which is left uncleaned

  • An undetected crack in the tooth

  • An inappropriate restoration allowing the bacteria to recontaminate the area

  • Breakdown of sealing over time, allowing the bacteria come again inside the tooth

With the help of a surgical procedure post root canal treatment, called an apicoectomy or root end resection chances of complication can be reduced.

Post operative care

Once the treatment is complete, it is necessary to take extra care of your teeth. Do not eat until the numbness is all gone or you may bite your tongue.

Eat only natural and healthy food, brush your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.

Follow good oral hygiene practices and visit regular appointments with your dentist.

Inform your dentist if the temporary filling comes out or you experience any swelling inside or outside of the mouth or any abnormal complications.