Root canal treatment is also referred to as as endodontic therapy. It’s is a straightforward dental treatment for removing infection and damaged nerves from the pulp of a tooth. The main aim of the procedure is to relieve dental pain and save a tooth that is severely infected. Maybe you have read so many things online about the procedure, but do you know what “root canal” is all about?
You might have heard that the procedure is really painful and costly. However, the cost of root canal treatment varies depending on certain factors. The procedure is still less costly than having a tooth removed and replaced with an implant or bridge. So, in this article, we are going to look at some common the questions on what root canal is, why a root canal treatment is needed, who performs the treatment and how it’s done.
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal is actually a name of a part of the tooth. It is the hollow section that is found at the core of the tooth. A root canal contains the nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other living tissues that helps to keep the tooth alive. It’s also referred to as tooth pulp. Naturally, a tooth is made up of two parts a crown and the roots. The crown is the visible part that is seen above the gum lines, the roots are embedded right into the gums, being securely attached to the jaw bones.
The root canal also known as pulp, contains the living parts of the tooth, it is found at the core of the tooth after the dentin. In most cases, the living parts of the pulp might get infected, or abscessed, when decay progresses into the tooth pulp. The presence of infection inside the root canal can lead to pain and swelling, eventually it will result to tooth death. Root canal treatment is usually recommended when there is an infection deep within the tooth. The procedure involves the removal of infectious microorganisms and dying or dead tissue from inside the tooth.
Who can perform root canal treatment?
A root canal therapy can be performed by a general dentist or by an endodontist. In dentistry, an endodontist or a general dentist, are special type of dentists that have received advanced training and specializes in care of tooth’s inside contents. (1) It’s not all type of dentists that can perform a root canal treatment. Dentists that didn’t receive some special training in endodontics during their studies are not eligible for the procedure.
When is root canal treatment is needed?
A root canal treatment is usually recommended or needed when there is an infection or injury deep within the tooth due to dental trauma or a severe, untreated cavity. Unlike most other body tissues, the living parts of the pulp cannot heal themselves after sustaining an injury or decay. Root canal therapy can be helpful when it comes to saving the tooth and eliminating the pain and discomforts.
Without proper treatment, infection from dying or decaying tooth nerves and blood vessels will spread to the bones and other surrounding healthy tissues. Eventually, after more time passes without treatments, the infection will weaken the bone, causing the ligaments around the tooth to swell. This can make the tooth to become loose and fall out in severe cases.
Is root canal treatment painful?
Well, the treatment should be relatively painless since its carried out by a trained dental surgeon. Although, most patients fear that this type of treatment will cause excruciating pain and discomforts. The main aim of the procedure is to alleviate pain and not to cause pain. Before the procedure, the dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to treat or prevent infection.
Also the dental surgeon will numb the tooth and surrounding area with local anesthesia, making sure that you feel comfortable throughout the procedure. Although, after the treatment it’s normal to experience minor pain and discomforts. These types of pain is usually taken care of with suitable over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication.
How is a root canal treatment done?
Like I said earlier, you won’t feel any serious pain resulting from the treatment. Before the treatment the dentist will have to explain some few things about the procedure. There are necessary clinical steps that the dentist. must follow during the treatment. (2) Sometimes it takes between one and three sessions to complete the treatment fully well. Here is what you should expect :
1. On your first visit, the dentist will administers local anesthesia to numb the tooth and the surrounding areas. The dentist will try as much as possible to make sure that your are comfortable throughout the procedure. The application of anesthesia means that the root canal procedure should be painless.
2. After numbing the tooth, the dentist will drill a small access hole on the surface of the tooth. From the small opening, he will have access to the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. With the use of small files, the dentist will clear away the damaged and diseased pulp. He may also add some antimicrobial solution in the pulp cavity to kill any remaining bacteria. The antimicrobial solution will also help to prevent further infection.
3. After thorough cleaning, the empty pulp chamber is filled with rubber-like material called gutta percha. The opening in your tooth’s surface will also be sealed off with a temporary filling,while you wait for a permanent crown.
4. After some few weeks, your permanent dental crown should be ready. Once it’s ready your dentist will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown over the tooth.