Root Canal Treatment (RCT)
Root canal treatment or Endodontic therapy is a sequence of treatment for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion.
Root canal treatment is a routine procedure done in the clinic to save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of extracting it. The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, trauma to the tooth or failure of any previous treatment.
Patients often assume Root canal treatment to be painful. With latest advances and local anesthetics, this procedure is painless. An infected tooth is usually what causes pain, and RCT is a solution to this problem. If left untreated the tooth can develop an abscess causing bone loss. Swelling may spread to other areas of the face, neck, or head causing further problems.
Why Root Canal Treatment is done?
When the soft tissue called pulp, that lay below the white enamel and dentin gets infected or inflamed Root Canal Treatment becomes a necessity to safeguard your teeth. The cause of inflammation or infection in the pulp may be caused because of various reasons like trauma, deep decay and damage of tooth or repetitive dental procedure. Not only these reasons, invisible damage in tooth caused as a result of an injury can also be the reason of damage in pulp. If pulp infection is not treated timely, it may cause extreme pain or can worsen as well.
When is RCT required?
Before we know more about the Root Canal Treatment first we must understand the signs when this treatment is required. At times, some dental patients do not experience any sort of sign of symptoms related to tooth decay or pulp damage. Whereas, some experiences the below signs that help them to understand when they actually need a treatment for the root canal.
- Deep Cavity
- Prolonged sensitivity to cold and heat
- Feeling of tenderness when touched or while chewing
- Discoloration of the tooth enamel
- Swelling in gum
- Drainage in nearby gum
- Gum Sensitivity
How does Root Canal Treatment save the tooth?
While performing the Root Canal Treatment, the Operating Dentist first removes the inflamed or infectious pulp from inside the canal by cleaning it carefully and shaping it properly. Then later on, he fills and seals the vacant space of channel present inside the root. Once all this process is done, the operating dentist will restore the tooth and request you to visit again to check the result of the treatment.
When infection in teeth seems to be unavoidable because of gums or pulp decay and cracking or chipping of teeth etc. then in such case the dentist advised the patient to go for pulpectomy.
deals with removal of pulp tissue so that the infection can be avoided to rise further. At times infections exist inside the layers of the tooth itself. To treat the infection and preserving the teeth from decaying the operating dentist drills into the tooth to reach the pulp chamber and cleans and remove the infected pulp. Once done, they further drill nerve out of the root canal with the help of long needle shaped hand instrument identified as files. Files are two types H files and K files. The Operating Dentist starts the treatment with smaller files and later uses progressively larger files to broaden the canal. Through this process debris as well as the infected tissues can be removed carefully and can also enable greater penetration of irrigation solution. Once the entire procedure is completed the dentist fills the root canal and cavity with inert material and seals the opening properly. This entire procedure is called as root canal therapy.
The materials usually used for filling is gutta-percha i.e. a natural polymer which is prepared from latex from palaguium gutta also called as percha tree. Gutta-percha is radiopaque in nature that easily allows dentists to verify whether the root canal passage is filled up completely or not. In a standard root canal technique gutta-percha cone is inserted into an already cleaned canal together with the sealing cement. In another technique melted gutta-percha is injected and pressed into the cleaned root canal passage. The melted gutta-percha contracts as it cools down from its heat softened state. The thermal technique can thus be not reliable and so at times, a combination of techniques are used.
Illustrations: Root Canal Treatment from Start to Finish
1. A Deep Infection
Root Canal Treatment is required when injury or large cavity damage the root of the tooth.
2. A Route to the Root
The dentist anesthetizes the tooth and then an opening is made right from the crown of the tooth to the pulp chamber.
3. Removing the Infected/Inflamed Tissue
Infectious nerves and unhealthy pulp present in the canal is cleaned with the help of Special files. Then they reshape and clean the canals for filling and sealing the material.
4. Filling the Canals
The canals are filled with a radio-opaque bio-compatible material . This material keeps the canals free of infection.
5. Rebuilding the Tooth
To seal the opening temporary filling material is placed . The filling stays there till the tooth gets its own permanent filling or a crown/cap. Crown looks similar to the natural tooth. It is placed on top of the tooth.
6. Extra Support
In some of the cases like broken tooth or tooth with a large cavity , the root canal treated tooth does not provide enough support for the crown to be placed on it. So Dentinal Posts made of resin or metal are often used to give the necessary support structure for the subsequent crown.
7. The Crowning Touch
A root canal treated tooth is prone to fracture so it is necessary to place a crown to protect the tooth from breaking. After a crown is fabricated it is cemented to the tooth.
Will I have pain during or after the procedure?
Numerous types of Root Canal procedures are performed to get rid of toothache that is caused by inflamed or infectious pulp. People feel comfortable during the entire procedure because of the use of modern techniques and pain killers/ anesthetics. In the initial days just after the treatment, the tooth feels sensitive, particularly when the tooth is treated because of excessive pain or infection.A sensitivity of teeth can be relieved by taking the medicines prescribed by the dentist and also by following his instructions. After the Root Canal Treatment, initially, you may feel the tooth to be slightly different from others. But if your pain lasts for more than a week or two, then you must again get in contact with your dentist.
Will the tooth require any extraordinary care or extra treatment after the Root Canal Treatment?
Yes, it is important to take care of your treated tooth till it is unrestored. In some of the cases the dentist instructs you not to chew from the treated tooth unless the tooth is completely restored by the dentist. Treated tooth that is yet to be restored is prone to fracture, so it is important to visit the dentist for a complete restoration as soon as possible. If things are ok with the tooth, then in such case you only need to practice the right type of oral hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, mouthwash and timely checkup and cleaning. The teeth that have undergone the Root Canal Treatment may last as long as other teeth. After the Root Canal Treatment usually the tooth heals in some days, but at times in few cases the tooth may not heal or it may pain continuously. Even after the successful RCT, there are times when tooth may suddenly become painful or decay within a month, a year or so. When such situation occurs, the repetition of the Root Canal Treatment can only help the tooth from further decay or pain.
Tooth extraction is an alternative of Root canal therapy. At Dental World we also provide complete assistance for following tooth extraction as well. After the tooth extraction, a prosthetic replacement has to be done that comprises of dental implants and immovable partial denture or removable denture. Pain, infection as well as the possibility of the worsening of dental infection may arise, if the treatment is not taken at the right time and as a result the tooth may no longer be restorable. When the tooth structure is damaged excessively then in such case the Root Canal Treatment usually becomes unsuccessful. Tooth extraction is the only treatment that can help you relieve from pain in these circumstances.
Why crowns are required after RCT?
Every operating dentist advises you to visit your dentist so that he can put a crown on the RCT treated tooth, because initially the tooth becomes fragile or brittle and thus they may have a tendency to fracture. Thus, crown can prevent the treated tooth from any sort of damage and retain it for a longer time.