A few years ago, a badly infected, painful tooth, or one that had significant decay, was needed to be extracted. Today, a majority of these teeth can be saved by a special dental procedure called root canal therapy.
A root canal treatment will be performed when a tooth’s nerve and associated blood vessels are irreversibly infected. For example:
- A tooth damaged by trauma.
- A fractured tooth.
- The deep cavity that has infected the nerve.
Signs And Symptoms:
- Severe pain in the tooth (especially noticeable when lying horizontally i.e.in bed at night).
- There may also be swelling in your jaw.
- The tooth may be painful while chewing.
- Pain and sensitivity consuming hot and /or cold foods.
- Teeth that are severely chipped or worn out.
Though the condition of the tooth seems severe, a dentist can save your tooth by removing the diseased nerve tissue. A dentist follows the procedure of cleaning and then filling the nerve chamber. Most of the time a root canal is a simple procedure with little or no discomfort. It may involve one to four or more visits.
Best of all, it can rescue the tooth and your smile. The treated tooth usually can function like a natural tooth after root canal therapy.
Extraction is truly the last resort!
Your dentist can help even though the condition seems unfavorable. He/she will examine the mouth and assess the extent of the damage. They will further discuss the dental history and examines your teeth and gums. X-rays will be taken if required. This allows your Dentist to see the inside of your teeth and gum bone.
Bacteria can invade your tooth through any of the small holes such as a loose filling, a cavity or crack. When it enters the pulp your pulp becomes infected. Eventually, the bacteria may destroy the pulp (pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth). At this stage, it may or may not indicate some symptoms.
However, a root canal treatment will successfully save this tooth. If the tooth is not treated in this condition, the infection may even spread to your bone (abscess).
Why do I need root canal treatment?
Without treatment, the infection will spread the surrounding teeth and bone and eventually tooth may fall out. The pain usually increases which leads a dental emergency. In this situation, the only alternative will be the extraction of the tooth, which can cause surrounding teeth to shift and weaken.
Though an extraction is cheaper, an implant or a bridge to replace the tooth can be more expensive than root canal therapy. If you have a choice, it is always recommendable to keep the original tooth. However, there are limitations, and at a time treatment may not be possible. Allow your dentist to decide.
What is involved in root canal therapy?
Your treatment may take one or more visit, where the nerve of the offending tooth is removed and the root canal is subsequently filled.
Your dentist may incorporate x – rays, it is ensured that the full length of your root canal is treated.
If your roots are abnormally shaped or there are other complications, you may need to have apical surgery (Apicoectomy) as advised by your dentist.
Root Canal Procedure:
- Step 1: The tooth is anesthetized and an opening is made through the crowns into the pulp chamber.
- Step 2: The length of the root canal is examined. Infected pulp will be removed. The canals are enlarged, cleaned, and shaped with special root canal files and disinfecting solutions will be applied.
- Step 3: Once the tooth is free from infection, the tooth is filled with a special root canal filling material like gutter perch and sealed with a temporary filling.
- Step 4: A post core may be placed for structural support. Usually, metal or porcelain crown is made for the tooth to provide further protection.
Do children require root canal therapy?
Yes. Very rarely milk teeth in children may require root canal therapy. Though the procedure varies slightly in milk teeth.
What happens after treatment?
After the inside tooth structure has treated, the outside structure will be restored to protect your tooth. It gives your tooth a healthy appearance. After a root canal procedure, your tooth should function and feel like your other teeth.
Dr. Manan Dhulia says it’s important to take care of your treated tooth the same way your natural teeth. Brush and floss regularly. He further suggests visiting your dentist regularly for preventive check-ups and consultation. Your dentist is trained to see hidden problems that a normal person cannot.