Root canals are one of the most dreaded dental procedures. If tooth decay is not treated, it progresses inside the tooth and reaches the pulp tissue. Root canal treatment is done to replace the infected pulp with a filling. The treatment is used to save teeth that would otherwise have to be extracted. Let us understand the procedure in detail.
How does the tooth get infected?
The root canals of teeth are made up of nerves and blood vessels, which nourish the teeth by supplying them with oxygen and nutrients. When tooth decay in the outer layers of teeth is neglected, it progresses into the root canals, where nerves and blood vessels become infected and inflamed. The inflamed pulp tissue dies and is replaced by infected material and pus. This causes pain and swelling and, if left untreated, can damage the surrounding bone structure, leading to a tooth abscess. Therefore, a root canal is performed to remove the infected pulp and replace it with a filling.
Once the infected pulp is removed, nutrition for the tooth comes from the surrounding tissues. Other reasons that can damage your teeth and cause infections are accidental cracks, leaky fillings, and gum infection that goes down to the roots.
Root Canal Procedure:
Also known as endodontic treatment, root canal treatment involves cleaning and sterilizing the root canal and removing infected tissue. The procedure is performed by your dentist over two or more visits, depending on the situation. If the tooth has an active infection, antibiotics are prescribed for 3-5 days to reduce pain and infection. Local anesthesia is administered before the treatment to ensure patient comfort. First, a rubber dam is placed around the infected tooth to ensure the tooth is dry during treatment and to prevent contamination of the canals. After opening the top layer of the teeth with a dental drill, the dentist will access the pulp chamber of the tooth and remove the infected pulp.
Root canal treatment has a bad reputation as being an unpleasant treatment for some reason. The procedure is only carried out under anesthetic and, in the vast majority of cases, is no different from having a filling done.
The next step is to clean the inside of your tooth using a series of small files. With the help of these dental files, the pulp chamber and the canal are cleaned and enlarged. This part can take several hours and may require several visits. It also depends on which tooth is infected. Bicuspids and molars have two or three roots with multiple canals, so the more roots the teeth have, the longer it will take to continue treatment. During the first visit, the temporary filling is performed after thorough cleaning of the tooth.
At the next visit, the temporary filling is removed, the canal is filled and the tooth is sealed with a crown. The crown protects the endodontic tooth from fractures.
Avoid eating hard foods until treatment is complete. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly. Limit your intake of sugar and colas. With proper care, your treated tooth can last a lifetime.