A dental procedure to repair and save a tooth that is infected or badly decayed.
During a root canal procedure, the dentist removes the infected pulp from the inside of the tooth, cleans the area, and fills and seals the space.
Why is root canal treatment needed?
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that is needed when the soft tissue inside the tooth, called the pulp, becomes infected or inflamed. This can happen for several reasons, including:
- Deep decay: When tooth decay is left untreated, it can spread deep into the tooth and reach the pulp, causing infection and inflammation.
- Tooth damage: Trauma or injury to a tooth can cause the pulp to become inflamed or infected.
- Gum disease: Advanced gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria can build up and infect the pulp.
- Large fillings: Large or repeated fillings can weaken the tooth and damage the pulp, leading to infection and inflammation.
If left untreated, an infected or inflamed pulp can cause severe pain, abscesses, and even tooth loss. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected or inflamed pulp, cleaning the inside of the tooth, and sealing it to prevent further infection. The procedure is typically done under local anesthesia and is often the best way to save a damaged or infected tooth.
Symptoms That Indicate The Need For Root Canal Treatment
- Severe pain when biting or applying pressure on the tooth
- Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
- Swelling and tenderness in the gums surrounding the tooth.
- Darkening of the tooth or discoloration
- Presence of a pimple-like bump on the gums near the affected tooth
- Deep decay or damage to the tooth that has reached the pulp or nerve
- History of trauma to the tooth or previous dental work that has led to an infection
Root Canal Treatment: How to Prepare?
- Eat a light meal before the procedure
- Take any prescribed pain medications
- Do not smoke, as this interferes with the healing ability
Procedure for Root Canal Treatment
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure used to treat infections and damage to the pulp (nerve tissue) inside a tooth. The following are the steps involved in a typical root canal treatment:
- Evaluation: The dentist will first evaluate the tooth and surrounding area with an x-ray to determine the extent of the damage and whether root canal treatment is necessary.
- Anesthesia: Local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area around the tooth being treated.
- Access opening: The dentist will create an opening in the tooth to access the pulp chamber.
- Pulp removal: The infected or damaged pulp tissue will be removed from the pulp chamber and canals using specialized tools.
- Canal shaping: The canals will be shaped to remove any remaining debris and prepare them for filling.
- Irrigation: The canals will be irrigated with an antimicrobial solution to eliminate any remaining bacteria.
- Filling: The canals will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to seal them off and prevent bacteria from entering.
- Temporary filling: A temporary filling will be placed in the access opening to protect the tooth until a permanent filling or crown can be placed.
- Crown placement: Depending on the extent of damage, a crown may be necessary to restore the tooth’s strength and appearance.
- Follow-up: The dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure the tooth has healed properly and no further treatment is necessary.
It’s important to note that the exact steps involved in a root canal treatment may vary depending on the individual case and the dentist’s preference.
Post Treatment Care For Root Canal
Post-treatment care for root canal involves the following steps:
- Avoid eating or drinking until the numbness wears off to avoid biting your tongue, lip or cheek.
- Take the prescribed pain medication as directed by the dentist.
- Maintain good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent infection.
- Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the root canal was performed.
- Eat soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow until the tooth fully recovers.
- Avoid sticky or hard foods that may damage the restoration or cause pain.
- Visit the dentist for a follow-up appointment to check on the healing process and ensure the tooth is fully restored.
- Use an ice pack on the affected area to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Take it easy and avoid strenuous physical activity for the first few days after the procedure.
- If you experience severe pain, swelling, or bleeding, contact your dentist immediately.
Can An Infected Tooth Heal Itself?
No, an infected tooth cannot heal itself. The infection must be treated by a dentist, as leaving it untreated can lead to further complications and even tooth loss. Treatment may involve antibiotics, a root canal, or in severe cases, tooth extraction.
What are the advantages of having a root canal procedure?
Root canal procedure is a dental treatment that is performed to save a severely damaged or infected tooth. Here are some advantages of having a root canal procedure:
- Relieves pain: The primary reason for a root canal is to relieve the pain associated with an infected tooth. During the procedure, the damaged or infected pulp is removed, and the tooth is cleaned and sealed, which can relieve pain and discomfort.
- Saves the tooth: A root canal can save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted. Saving the tooth can help maintain the natural appearance of your smile, and prevent adjacent teeth from shifting out of place.
- Prevents infection: A root canal can prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the mouth and body. If left untreated, an infected tooth can lead to an abscess, which can be painful and potentially dangerous.
- Improves oral health: A root canal can improve your overall oral health by removing the infection and preventing further damage to your tooth and surrounding tissues.
- Cost-effective: A root canal is typically less expensive than the cost of having a tooth extracted and replaced with a dental implant or bridge.
- Minimal downtime: Most people can return to their normal activities shortly after a root canal, making it a convenient and relatively low-impact procedure.
Overall, a root canal procedure can provide many benefits, including pain relief, improved oral health, and cost-effectiveness. If you think you may need a root canal, it’s important to speak with your dentist or endodontist to determine the best course of treatment.