WHAT IS ROOT CANAL TREATMENT ?
Before knowing more about root canal therapy you should understand in detail about the structure of tooth.
Root canal treatment (also called endodontics) is needed when the blood or nerve supply of the tooth (known as the pulp) is infected through decay or injury or carious infection. It can be without symptoms or sometimes associated with dull to throbbing pain.
Usually in earlier stages of the injury there is no to mild pain. And as the infection progresses , the associated pain also increases. In some cases, your tooth could darken in color, which may mean that the nerve of the tooth has died (or is dying). This would need root canal treatment.
What is the need of root canal treatment ?
When the pulp becomes infected, the infection gradually spreads through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess as the infection reaches to the deeper levels. The infection gradually progresses.An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects. The collected pus causes swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain. The pressure caused by the accumulation of pus can cause mild to shooting pain which can make it very difficult for you to chew or bite.If root canal treatment is not carried out, the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
Does it hurt?
A very simple answer to it NO. The root canal therapy is carried out after the administration of Local Anaesthesia. So during the procedure there in hardly any pain sensation. It just like any other normal filling. There can be mild tenderness afterwards but that gradually reduces with time. Also after the root canal therapy pain killer & antibiotics are administered. That reduces the post operative pain or sensitivity.
During the therapy once the pus accumulated within the pulp is drained out , that results in the sudden decrease in the pain that you have been experiencing & from that point the condition improves as the therapy gets competed.
How does it work ?
The aim of the root canal therapy is to remove all the infection and infected tissue or pulp from inside the tooth. The root ( inside of the tooth) is then cleaned thoroughly and sealed with a filling material to prevent any future infection.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed, and any abscesses can be drained. The root canal is then cleaned and shaped ready for the filling. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.
The tooth is checked at a later visit and when all the infection has cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
How is my tooth affected after root canal therapy ?
In today’s modern dental treatment & root canal therapy have progressed a lot. In the past, a root-filled tooth would often darken after treatment. However, with modern techniques this does not usually happen. If there is any discolouration, there are several treatments available to restore the natural appearance. But chances of discolouration has reduced a lot owing to tremendous development in the dental materials & instruments.
What if it happens again ?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back, the treatment can sometimes be repeated. But with proper technique & management the chances of the infection recurring again is very less.
What if you don’t go for RCT ?
The infection starts from the outer surface of the tooth ( Enamel ) and gradually proceeds in to the deeper layers of dentin & finally in to the pulp. The pulp is a mass of blood vessels & nerves. If you don’t have the treatment at the right time then the infection is sure to reach the pulp. Some times there is pus accumulation also that starts putting pressure on the pulp. All this results in mild to throbbing to sharp shooting pain in the affected teeth . The pain can make it difficult for you to bite or even sleep properly. Even then if you decide not to have the root canal therapy , it will ultimately result in loss of teeth due to infection & decay. At a late stage there is no other option but removing the tooth out completely.
All these can be avoided if root canal therapy is started at the right time & tooth can be saved.
What after the root canal therapy ?
After the root canal therapy the tooth does become little brittle. So post treatment it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown to provide extra support and strength to the tooth. The crown acts as covering & in same as the natural anatomy of the tooth surface.
It not only improves occlusion but protects the root canal treated tooth from occlusion forces that may cause fracture of the tooth. It also protects the filling materials from leaking out.
Where to get root canal therapy done ?
Root canal treatment is a routine dental procedure, which your dentist will be happy to do for you. However, sometimes your dentist may refer you to an endodontist, who is a specialist in this type of treatment.
What about after-care ?
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist as often as they recommend for regular check-ups.