Root Canal Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment?

This is a dental procedure that is used to treat the infected pulp of a tooth. The dentist will perform the
root canal treatment by first removing the damaged pulp and then proceeds to cleaning and disinfecting it.
The dentist will then start filling and sealing it to prevent bacteria from entering the decontaminated tooth.
The pulp of a tooth is the central part of the tooth and it comprises of the nerve, blood vessels and
connective tissue. The root canal treatment is also called endodontic treatment. The common causes that
cause the damage of the tooth pulp are:

  • Cracked tooth
  • Deep Cavity
  • Trauma to the tooth
  • Need for Root Canal Treatment

The dentist might recommend a root canal treatment if an infection has reached deep into the tooth. The
tooth’s pulp could be infected either because of an injury or due to a severe cavity that was left untreated.
The infection, if left untreated, can lead to the extraction of the tooth itself and replaced with an implant,
bridge, or denture which are more expensive and time consuming.

How root canal is performed? What do they do when they give you a root canal?

Root Canal Treatment Procedure

The treatment procedure is done by a series of steps as shown below:

  • Diagnosis :The dentist usually recommends taking an x-ray of the tooth to confirm if root canal treatment has to
    be performed. Once, the treatment has been confirmed, the dentist will move to the next step, which
    involves the pre-procedure activities.
  • Pre-Procedure Activities :The dentist will administer local anaesthesia to the infected tooth to provide numbness to the tooth. The patient might feel a small pinch only at the time of needle entry. Once the tooth is numb, the dentist will place a dental dam or a small sheet of rubber to isolate the tooth, keeping it clean and dry during the procedure.
  • Pulpectomy :The dentist will then access the root canal system and the damaged pulp by opening the top portion of the tooth using a small drill. The dentist will then remove the damaged and diseased pulp from the
    inside of the tooth using small files. The dentist will then shape the inner chamber of the tooth and root and then clean the chamber by irrigating it using water. The chamber and the canals are then cleaned with a disinfecting solution to kill the remaining bacteria and reduce the further risk of infection.
  • Filling
    The decontaminated root canal and chambers are then filled with an inert rubber-like material called gutta percha. The opening is sealed with a temporary filling for the time being. The dentist will take a series of X-rays throughout the procedure and the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to help fight the infection. After the root canal is completed and after a couple of days, the tooth is protected with a permanent crown.

How long does it take for a root canal to stop hurting?

  • Post Procedure
    The root canal treatment usually provides relief from the pain and the recovery time is very minimal. Root canal treatments usually have a high rate of success and can last a lifetime with proper care.
  • Take proper care of the teeth by maintaining good oral hygiene, taking less sugary foods and avoid smoking. 

Authored By Dr Sanjay N - Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Bangalore

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