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Are you filled with fear and anxiety at the thought of a root canal treatment? Well, who wouldn’t be? This is because root canal treatment has always been perceived as a painful procedure rather than a procedure which relieves pain. How many of us even know what a “root canal treatment” really is?
Root canal is the term used to describe the natural space within the center of the tooth root. The tooth’s nerve lies within this space and infection of this space by decay or trauma may require a root canal treatment.
What is Root Canal Treatment ?
A root canal treatment (also known as endodontic therapy, endodontic treatment, or root canal therapy) is a clinical procedure performed to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During the procedure, the dentist removes the decay, infected damage pulp tissue inside of the tooth, cleans the space within and seals it.
Failure to obtain this treatment on time may lead to pus formation in the surrounding gums and ultimately loss of tooth.
There’s no need to worry if you have been advised to get a root canal on one of your teeth, as this is the only procedure to save your tooth and eliminate excruciating dental pain and will allow you to chew food freely.
A modern root canal treatment is not like the one in olden times. With advancement in newer technology and more effective pain control methods, root canal treatment can be performed relatively pain-free and competed in 1 or 2 appointments, depending on the condition of the tooth.
A root canal treatment allows you to chew and bite effectively with your own natural teeth without pain.
Common Symptoms Requiring a Root Canal Treatment
- Severe tooth pain
- Large black decay or cavities on teeth
- Pain white chewing food or biting on teeth
- Pain increase or decrease with the intake of cold or hot water
- Pain worsens when you lie down and reduces when you sit up.
- Night pain in tooth
- Tooth sensitivity while eating sweets.
- Swelling around the tooth or in gum
- Tooth pain referred to head and ears as well.
Benefits from Rct
Nothing feels looks or functions like natural teeth. Saving natural teeth with root canal treatment enables you to chew efficiently, gives your teeth a more natural appearance and enables you to enjoy the food you eat. Also, saving a tooth means maintaining adequate balance in distribution of masticatory forces on all teeth.
Root canal x-ray before and after
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
Dentist will take x-ray to evaluate progression on caries and infection and confirm whether you need a root canal or other procedure like filing or tooth removal. Root canal treatment is generally carried out under local anesthesia in 2-3 appointments,
However, single sitting root canal treatments can also be performed in some cases. It mainly involves the following steps in rct:
Step- 1 anesthesia and decay removal
After administering local anesthetic solution, the tooth is anesthetized. Once tooth is completely numb (anesthetized)with help of rubber dam teeth required treatment is isolate so you will not fill any bitter taste of medical solution and keep the area infection free. Now we start with removing of carious part with high speed air-rotor.
Step- 2 cleaning of root canal space
Now we removes the infected pulp and unhealthy tissue from the canals of tooth using special instruments called files. Once the cleaning is done, disinfection of the canal space is performed to eliminate the bacteria present in the root canal system. This is done using various medicated disinfectant solutions.
Step- 3 filling the root canal space
Once the canal space has been cleaned and disinfected, it’s time to seal the space with a filling material. This helps to keep the canals free of infection or contamination. The tooth is filled with a material called gutta-percha, using an adhesive sealer to seal the canals completely.
Step- 4 Filling
An empty space cause by tooth decay cleaning is filled using a permanent strong filling material. We use composite resin filling material which is stronger and more durable than dental cement.
Step- 5 Crowning the tooth
The procedure of root canal makes the tooth lose some amount of mineral content making it brittle and prone to fractures. So, it needs to be reinforced with some extra protection through a crown. Placing a Dental crown on a root canal treated tooth not only helps maintain the integrity of the tooth but also provides an additional seal to keep infection away.
It is important that endodontically treated tooth should be protected with crowns/onlay to prevent fracture and to restore their appearance. Usually front teeth does not required cap if healthy tooth structure has enough volume, However, discolored root canal treated teeth need to be crowned.
Who needs RCT (Root canal treatment)
Persistent pain is one of the main indicators that something is wrong with your tooth. Seeing your dentist soon will help you to understand if your nerves are inflamed and whether you need a root canal treatment or something else.
Teeth can get chipped or cracked while eating hard food, while playing sports or during an accident. Cracked tooth exposes the nerves of a tooth and lead to an infection, necessitating a root canal treatment.
Another common sign that you need a root canal procedure is sensitivity to hot or cold foods. If your tooth aches on consuming hot beverages like tea or coffee, there is a problem. Some even experience sensitivity on eating ice creams or drinking cold water. In such cases, the dentist may conclude that you need a root canal treatment.
If your gums are painful and swollen or have a raised bump on them, your dentist will examine the swollen gums to see if inflammation is to blame. Another most common factor is deep decay but no pain this because of nerve of tooth gets infected and dead. Once deep decay has set in within the tooth, no amount of brushing, flossing or rinsing with mouth wash will solve the problem. If a cavity has been neglected for too long it will spread down into deeper structures and damage the nerve. In such a scenario, a root canal is likely the only option for repair.
Alternatives to a Root Canal
Saving natural teeth is the best option to get rid of pain and infection of tooth. Natural teeth allow you to eat a wide variety of foods providing the necessary nutrition needed for a healthy body.
Taking Medicine will help only for short time and after certain period you will face same problems.
The only alternative to a root canal procedure is having the tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge, implant or a removable partial denture to restore chewing function and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting. These alternatives not only are more expensive than a root canal procedure but also require more treatment time and additional procedures on adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.
Frequently ask questions
How many years does a root canal last?
On an average a root canal treated tooth, maintained well by the patient lasts for around 8-12 years or even more. Placement of a crown on the tooth prolongs the lifespan by protecting it against the chewing forces.
Is root canal better than extraction?
Saving natural teeth by root canal procedure is absolutely better than getting your teeth pulled out. The expense of replacing teeth after removal is much more than the cost of root canal procedure. Additionally, preserving natural teeth contributes in the overall wellbeing of an individual.
Reasons for infection in the pulp
The most common reason for the pulp or the nerve of the tooth to get infected is because of decay which is not treated at an early stage. A tooth may require a root canal procedure if it has cracked and the patient experiences pain. The tooth pulp may also become inflamed or irritated due to large fillings (over a period of time) or due to trauma to the face or teeth.
How long after root canal can I eat?
The dentist has to anaesthetize the tooth for the root canal procedure. Eating food is advised generally after the numbness of the cheek and tongue wears off to avoid accidental biting of cheek and tongue. It is better to avoid chewing hard food or biting on the treated tooth until the treatment is fully complete. You can eat all regular food on other side of mouth until procedure is completed.
Is it ok to brush teeth after root canal?
Brushing and flossing between teeth is permitted between the appointments of the root canal treatment and also after the procedure has been completed. In fact, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene to prevent other oral health problems from occurring.
What is a temporary filling for a root canal?
A temporary filling is used to seal the tooth temporarily in between appointments until the root canal treatment is completed. Temporary filling material helps to seal the canal space so that any food particle or liquid will not get sip In to canal
This filling material is not as hard as a permanent one and it is replace with permanent filing material at last.
What happens if you wait too long for a root canal?
If a root canal procedure is delayed for a long period of time, the bacterial infection can spread to other areas of the mouth and neck, putting the patient at a greater risk of developing serious conditions. The untreated infection can cause a pus filled sac to form which may spread to spaces of the neck sometimes. This type of a situation requires urgent medical attention.
Also decay of tooth eaten up tooth structure and tooth become weaken, so some time rct is not possible at end stage of decay and tooth need to be removed.
Can antibiotics heal an infected root canal?
Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed as a supportive medication to reduce the bacterial load when there is pus formation due to an untreated infected tooth. Antibiotics can temporarily heal a painful tooth by lowering the infection but are not a substitute for root canal treatment.
How painful is a root canal treatment?
With the new advancements in technology, the instruments and devices used in a root canal treatment make the procedure relatively painless. Also, better anesthetic solutions and techniques are adopted by dentist to make the experience of the patient comfortable and pain free.
Can you get a re-infection in a root canal treated tooth?
It is sometimes possible that the tooth that has been treated with a root canal procedure, acquires an infection again. This happens because of many reasons like leakage from restoration, tooth fracture, weak immunity, decay in the tooth below the crown or an infection of the gums(due to gum disease) spreading to the treated tooth.
How often do root canals fail?
Root canal treatment is generally safe and effective with a success rate of more than 95%. Like any other medical or dental procedure, occasionally root canals can fail due to a tooth fracture or new decay. Well maintained root canal treated teeth generally last long with no complains.
Cost of root canal treatment
It is very difficult to estimate the cost without the specify your situation
Cost of Root Canal Treatment in India can range around INR 3000 to INR 10000 approximately;
Charges are depending upon the position of tooth, levels of severity and skill of doctor.