Root canal treatment
Recover In Comfort
What is root canal treatment ?
A root canal treatment is used to repair the damaged inside of a tooth. It is also called endodontic treatment.
It involves drilling a hole into the tooth and removing the soft centre, known as the dental pulp. The dental pulp is made up of connective tissue, nerves and blood supply, and extends into the roots of the tooth. After the pulp is removed, the space is filled and sealed.
The crown, or surface of the tooth that is used for chewing, may also be replaced if necessary.
Root canal therapy can be performed by your regular dentist or a specialist endodontist.
A root canal treatment can save a badly infected or damaged tooth. The tooth may have become infected or damaged by decay, repeated dental work, wear and tear, gum disease, cracked fillings or an injury to the tooth.
When the dental pulp is damaged, bacteria can start to multiply inside the tooth. This can lead to an infection or abscess, which is a pocket of pus that forms at the end of the tooth’s root.
Saving your own tooth if possible is important. It works better than an artificial tooth for biting and chewing. Losing a tooth can lead to other problems in the mouth. Replacing a lost tooth with an artificial one often needs more complex dental procedures. Root canal treatment is often the best way of saving a tooth.
There are a few different types of root canal treatments that can be done depending on your individual case. All have a similar goal in mind—to save your tooth and keep decay and bacteria from further affecting it.
Nonsurgical Root Canal Treatment
Nonsurgical Root Canal Treatment
This form of root canal treatment is the typical procedure that involves removing the inner nerve tissue of the tooth and sealing the inner chamber. You may require nonsurgical root canal therapy if your tooth has experienced extensive decay that cannot be fixed with a filling, or if you have an infection that has compromised the nerves of your tooth. In either case, a root canal may be a viable form of treatment.
An apicoectomy is a procedure used when a primary root canal – the nonsurgical root canal treatment we just discussed – is unsuccessful. In this case, the infection or inflammation may still be present in your tooth or in your alveolar bone, which is the bone that makes up your jaw.
During an apicoectomy, only local anesthesia is used, and this form of treatment is considered a microsurgical procedure. The very tip of your tooth’s root is removed, and a filling material is used to seal the canal. In the following months, the bone in your jaw will heal around the tooth’s root where the affected material was removed. However, you won’t need a long recovery period – most patients can return to their usual activities the next day.
Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy
Pulpotomies and pulpectomies are typically procedures done on baby teeth – essentially, root canals for children. Both of these procedures help save your child’s natural tooth, but they have one difference.
In a pulpotomy, the affected pulp of the tooth’s chamber is removed, and the healthy pulp is left in your child’s tooth roots. A pulpotomy only works if only part of your child’s tooth’s inner nerve tissue is affected.
In a pulpectomy, all of the pulp is removed and replaced with a filler material. This procedure is generally done for teeth that cannot be saved with just a pulpotomy due to the extent of the infection or decay.
Root canals are an excellent way to save teeth that would otherwise be lost due to infection or decay. Your professional dentist or endodontist – a specialist in saving teeth – can provide you with more information on what to expect during your consultation for root canal therapy!
What to expect
Root canal treatment is necessary when dental X-rays reveal that the pulp has been damaged due to bacterial infection. Bacteria can cause inflammation in the pulp, leading to multiplication and spread of the infection. Symptoms of pulp infection include pain while eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks, pain while biting or chewing, and loose teeth. As the infection progresses, these symptoms may disappear as the pulp dies.
Before the procedure, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic into the gums, and it is advised to avoid tobacco and alcohol as they can have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia. The anesthesia may cause numbness in the mouth for a few hours, making it difficult to eat. So, unless instructed otherwise by the dentist, it is recommended to eat a few hours before the procedure for a more comfortable recovery.
Most dentists recommend taking ibuprofen a few hours before the treatment to help ease any swelling that may occur. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory pain reliever.
Root canal procedures are an effective way to save a tooth and restore its function. Despite rumors and misconceptions, it is a painless procedure, especially when adequately prepared for it.
Frequently asked questions
Many people are afraid they’ll have tooth pain after root canal therapy. However, because the source of infection is removed during the procedure, most people find immediate relief following treatment. If you are experiencing throbbing pain after a root canal, call your healthcare provider right away.
While you shouldn’t have significant pain after a root canal, you may notice sensitivity for the first few days. These symptoms are normal and can be successfully managed with prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers. In most instances, side effects lessen within one to two weeks.
Typically, root canal recovery time lasts less than a week. Mild discomfort may be present for a few days, but this can be managed with medication. If you have severe pain or discomfort that lasts longer than a week, call your healthcare provider.
As with all dental procedures, results are not guaranteed. However, when root canal therapy is performed correctly, results can last a long time — even the rest of your life.