Don’t lose the tooth entirely – if the infection is left untreated so it’s best to consult a dentist any time you feel pain or discomfort with your teeth. We’d love to make you fee better.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
The dental procedure allows the dentists to treat the infection at the centre of the tooth. The dentists replace the damaged or infected pulp of the teeth with a filling. The pulp is a soft tissue that comprises of the dental cells, blood vessels, as well as tissue and nerve fibres. The root canal treatment is also known as the ‘endodontic’ treatment.
Root canal treatment is usually a successful procedure. Around 90-95% patients who undergo the treatment experience a functional tooth after the treatment. The root canal treated tooth usually lasts a lifetime. But patients have to maintain their oral health and take extra care for their treated tooth.
What makes up your teeth:
The tooth is made up of two parts – the crown that is the visible part of the mouth and the root that extends the bone of the jaw. Tooth also consists of:
- Dentine – hard material
- Enamel – surface that protects the crown
- Pulp – the soft tissue that is based in the centre
- Cementum – the hard material that covers the tooth’s surface
The front teeth have only one root, but the molars have several. Each root comprises of many root canals. The pulp is a sensitive tissue of the teeth and provides oxygen and nutrients to the tooth. The pulp is responsible for the proper development of our teeth. The pulp runs down to the bottom part of each root canal. The pulp may begin to die if it gets infected with bacteria. If the bacterium reaches the tooth canal, the teeth will become painful and sometimes the face also began to swell.
Some symptoms of tooth deacy:
The defected tooth may be inflamed or carrying an infection. The symptoms of tooth damage are:
- Continuous pain
- Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks or food
- Severe pain while chewing
- A loose tooth
- Swelled gums
- Facial swelling
Dental x-rays or special tests are sometimes needed to diagnose tooth decay that has not yet caused any symptoms.
Causes of tooth damage:
Many factors contribute to tooth damage or its infection. Some of them are:
- A prolonged tooth decay that has not been treated
- Decay beneath a deep filling
- A trauma or an accident that damaged the tooth
- A habit of grinding the tooth also known as ‘bruxism.’
- Gum disease
Complications of tooth pulp infection:
If the infection is not given proper and timely treatment, then complications could arise that include:
- Growing infection: The infected pulp will not be able to fight the infection. The bacteria will increase rapidly once it reaches the pulp. Pus will collect in the area surrounding the tooth and cause severe infections.
- Bone loss: if the infection spreads, then the patient will be likely to experience loss of bone in the jaw area and its roots.
- Tooth loss: if the tooth is severely infected, then the patient might have to get the tooth removed and replaced using dentures or dental implants.
Diagnosis of tooth disease:
All dentists are eligible to perform a root canal treatment. If your case is complicated, your dentist might transfer you to an endodontist who are specialized in carrying out root canal treatment.
The dentists will perform an oral exam that will allow him/her to view the condition of your teeth. You will also be asked to get x-rays that will help the dentist see the shape of your root canals and plan the procedure.
Typical Root Canal Procedure:
A root canal will require you to make more than one visit to your dentists. The plan for the treatment will be decided by your dentist and may differ from the one listed here depending on the severity of your condition. A typical treatment will be performed using local anaesthesia. Even though the pulp is infected and the nerve is dead, most dentists use local anaesthesia to make the patient feel more at ease.
- The affected tooth is wrapped using a thin rubber also known as rubber dam.
- The decayed material or the filling is removed from the pulp.
- The remains of the pulp are extracted.
- The dentist will clean and shape the root canals using a special drill.
- The tooth is cleaned using a disinfectant.
- A temporary filling may be required if the root canal is infected. This will be kept for a few weeks or even months until the pulp can be filled.
- The treated tooth is sealed using root filling also known as ‘gutta-percha’ (a rubber based material).
- An artificial biting surface is created for the tooth using filling material.
- Some tooth decay might require an artificial crown that can be made using porcelain, gold or other materials.
Care after your root canal treatment:
It is normal to experience tenderness in the jaw and the area surrounding the treated tooth for a few days after the procedure. It is normal to follow the instructions provided to you by your dentist and regularly take medications that have been prescribed.
Your tooth will feel different from the rest of your teeth for some time. Normal teeth are yellowish white in colour, but a root canal treated tooth might turn gray after some time.
It is advisable not to chew with the treated tooth for at least one day. Also, avoid eating too much sugary food as well as give up smoking. Maintain proper brushing and flossing routine after the treatment to increase the longevity of the treated tooth.
Remember, root canal treatment is one of the most successful treatments. With proper care, maintaining good oral hygiene, and visiting your dentists regularly will help your treated tooth last as long as your other teeth.