Root canal treatment is for repairing and saving a tooth that is severely decayed or infected. The term root canal is defined as the natural cavity within the root of the tooth. Generally, certain factors such as a cracked tooth, deep cavity and severe injury to a tooth can harm the pulp of your tooth. Once the damaged pulp is left untreated, pus can build up at the root tip within the jawbone, forming an abscess that can destroy the bone surrounding the tooth and cause pain.
In root canal treatment, the damaged nerve and pulp are removed and the inner parts of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. The treatment shows high success rate accounting 95% of overall cases.
Do I Need to Undergo Root Canal Treatment?
The following are the few symptoms that determine whether you need to undergo root canal treatment:
- Severe toothache upon chewing or application of pressure
- Sensitivity to heat or cold temperatures
- Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
- Swelling and tenderness in the adjacent gums
- A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
Root Canal Treatment Procedure
The following are the few steps that are involved in the Root canal treatment procedure:
- Initially, an opening is made through the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or pre-molar
- Once the damaged pulp is removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned, enlarged and shaped to fill in the gap
- If more than one visit is required, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth
- The temporary filling will be removed and the pulp chamber and root canal is permanently filled. A tapered rubbery material known as gutta-percha is inserted into each of the canals and is often sealed with cement. In few cases, a metal or plastic rod is placed in the canal for structural support
- Finally, a crown is placed over the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. If the tooth is badly broken, a post may be required to build it up before placing a crown
Risks and Complications of Root Canal Treatment
Even though, your dentist has performed Root canal treatment successfully, there is a chance of new infections. The following are the few potential risks of the Root canal treatment:
- Chance of not cleaning the root canal entirely
- An undetected crack in the root of a tooth
- Defective dental restoration that allows bacteria to the inner parts of the tooth
- Breakdown of the inner sealing material over time
Generally, restored tooth lasts lifetime if proper care is taken. The following are the few tips you can follow to take care of your teeth:
- Practice good oral hygiene-brush twice and floss once a day
- Regular visits to dental clinics for cleanings and examinations
- Do not chew hard foods
- Sometimes root-treated teeth can become brittle and more prone to fracture.
In order to determine the success or failure of the treatment, the most important thing you should keep in mind is to compare the new X-rays with those taken before undergoing treatment. This will show if the bone continues to damage or being regenerated.
Single sitting Rct’s are preferred as it leaves less chances of contamination. Complete treatment in single visit without the crown and two sittings with crown.
Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment
Extracting tooth and replacing it with a bridge, implant or removable partial denture to restore chewing function is an only alternative to root canal treatment. Not only these alternatives are expensive but also involve more time and additional procedures.