Root Canal Treatment
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What is RCT or Root Canal Treatment?
Whenever we think of a dentist, one of the first things that comes to mind is ‘toothache’ and ‘root canal’. Infact, a large majority of the people fear root canal treatment as they believe it is a painful procedure.
But, how many of us really know and understand what a root canal is how and why a root canal treatment is performed?
Did you know that our tooth is made up of 3 layers?
- Outer enamel.
- Middle dentine.
- Inner pulp.
It is this pulp layer that keeps our tooth alive as it contains blood vessels and nerves.
When tooth decay begins, it slowly eats away the enamel, dentine and if left untreated, then reaches the pulp.
The treatment for tooth decay depends upon the extent of its spread:
- When the decay is limited to the enamel and dentine layers, it can be treated by a filling.
- However, when the decay reaches the pulp layer, it needs root canal treatment. The decay reaching the pulp is one of the main reasons for tooth pain and pulp infection.
Root Canal Treatment is a multi-step procedure that involves:
- Removal of the infected and inflamed pulp
- Cleaning the root canals and disinfecting them
- Filling the canals with an inert material and sealing them
- A post root canal crown or cap
When Do You Need a Root Canal Treatment?
Are there any signs and symptoms that indicate one may require a root canal treatment?
- Teeth with deep decay
- Broken or cracked teeth
- Teeth with gum diseases
- Failed dental fillings
- Teeth that have suffered a trauma
- Tooth ache: This is one of the first reasons why you would visit a dentist and the pain can range from mild to severe. The tooth ache can increase on changing position, especially while lying down or biting onto something using that particular tooth.
- Sensitivity: In normal cases, the enamel layer covers the inner two layers and we therefore, do not experience any sensitivity. However, when the dentin and pulp layers are exposed, you might experience increased sensitivity to air, hot foods, sour foods and sweet foods.
- In many cases, the tooth pain might be mild and most patients tend to ignore it. However, even though the pain subsides, the infection can still spread to tissues around the decayed tooth, resulting in a swelling.
Procedure of a Root Canal Treatment
When you hear the word ‘root canal treatment’, apart from pain, another question that comes to mind is “How many visits does a root canal take?”
Well as mentioned earlier on, root canal treatment is a multi-step procedure and it usually takes 1-2 sittings, but can take longer based on the condition of the tooth and the level of infection.
Here is what a root canal treatment procedure entails:
X-ray is indispensable for a root canal procedure and is the first step as well. In order to determine the cause of your pain and the extent of decay, one of the first things your dentist does is take an x-ray of the affected tooth.
After an x-ray is taken, in most cases, the next step is to inject a local anaesthetic to ensure you have a painless procedure. In some cases, however, since the patient is asymptomatic or the tooth is completely dead and painless, local anaesthesia may be omitted.
- Removal or decay and preparing the cavity
The next step in root canal treatment is the removal of all the decay that can be seen and preparing a cavity in the tooth to access the inner pulp easily.
- Removal of infected pulp, drainage of any pus from underneath the tooth
Once straight-line access has been obtained, the infected and inflamed pulp is removed completely.
In some cases, the pulp may have disintegrated and only specks of it remain, which can be washed out by using a saline solution in the canals.
In cases where there is pus accumulation beneath the root, accessing and removing the pulp facilitates drainage of pus and provides immediate relief to the patient.
- Cleaning, disinfecting and preparing the canals
Once the pulp has been removed and the canals are disinfected with saline solution, the canals are cleaned and shaped to be able to accommodate the filling material.
- Sealing the canals with inert material and a sealant
In ideal cases, the canals can be sealed with the inert rubber-based material in the same sitting itself. Such a root canal treatment is called as single-sitting root canal.
However, in practise, most cases require a gap of 3-5 days before the canals can be permanently sealed. In the interim, the dentist places a calcium-based medication to allow the inflamed tissues to heal.
Once the canals are ready to be sealed, rubber-based cones are placed into the canals and sealed. These cones are inert in nature and do not dissolve in saliva or blood and thereby, prevent re-infection of the tooth.
- Post-root canal filling and crown
Once the canals have been sealed, it is time to restore the decayed crown portion of your tooth with tooth filling material. After this, the tooth crown is shaped for the placement of a cap that will strengthen the tooth.
Is throbbing pain after root canal normal?
Pain and Discomfort after the root canal treatment is normal for a few days. As our body heals, the area around the tooth can feel a bit sore and tender, which is why it is normal to experience mild to moderate pain for a few days after root canal treatment.
Remedies to follow after the root canal treatment-
Once the Root canal treatment is done there are a few things to follow and they are:
- Avoid eating hard food for a few days.
- Try eating soft food like ice-cream, soups and fruit juices
- Start brushing your teeth twice a day
- Start reducing the amount of sugary food in your daily diet.
However, if the root canal treatment pain is intense or if the pain persists or if there is a swelling, then consult your dentist immediately.
Is Crown necessary after root canal?
What are the different types of crowns for teeth?
How much should root canal and crown cost?
Who is the best dentist in Mumbai for root canal treatment?
What should you know about getting Root Canal Treatment at Sabka Dentist?
How Root Canal Treatment is executed at Sabka Dentist?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What should you know about pulp and root canal treatment?
Is a tooth dead after this treatment?
What happens during root canal treatment?
- Anesthesia: The dentist starts by administering local anesthesia to numb the affected tooth.
- Isolation: After that, the dentist might isolate this tooth with rubber dam or cotton rolls to keep it clean and dry during the procedure.
- Access Opening: A dental handpiece will then be used to gain access to the inside of tooth ( pulp chamber). The root canals will be located and working length will be determined with help of 8 or 10 endodontic K – files.
- Biochemical Preparation and Irrigation: A series of files are used to clear the pulp debris and shape the canals. Along with it, irrigation will be done to wash away any remaining pulp. An antimicrobial solution is also used to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk for further infection.
- Obturation: The canals are then filled and sealed with a rubber-like biocompatible material called gutta percha. The opening in the tooth may be closed with a filling, while you wait for the permanent crown.
- Capping: After a week, the dentist will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown or similar type of restoration.
What happens when you don’t get your carious tooth treated?
How to get rid of tooth pain?
How painful is this treatment?
Root canal treatment pain is normal which is mild. But, it is temporary and root canal treatment is actually meant to relieve the pain of decayed or traumatized tooth.
Can this treatment hurt years later?
Which is better – Root canal Treatment or Extraction?
What care should be taken after root canal treatment?
What are the symptoms of failed root canal treatment?
- Sensitivity to pressure/ Tenderness
- Swelling/ Abscess/Gum boil/Sinus Tract
- Rot canl treatment pain
- Thermal sensitivity (to hot or cold stimulus)
Having above symptoms does not always indicate endodontic failure. Thus, a visit to the dentist can help to identify the cause of symptoms.