Root Canal Treatment
Root Canal Treatment is the treatment of the pulp exposed by caries or as a result of injury and fracture of the tooth. Dental pulp consists of nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities.The procedure involves the removal of these structures, followed by cleaning and shaping and the filling of the canals with a filling material.
Earlier, a badly infected tooth was doomed to be extracted. Today, majority of these teeth can be salvaged by Root canal treatment.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have an infection of the pulp, you may not feel any pain at first. But if it is not treated, the infection will cause pain and swelling. In some cases, an abscess will form.
Your tooth might need a root canal if:
- Pain on chewing
- Sensitive to hot or cold substances
- There is swelling near the tooth
- Discoloured tooth
- It is broken
To determine whether your tooth needs root canal treatment, your dentist will often place hot or cold substances against the tooth. The purpose is to see if it is more or less sensitive than a normal tooth. Dentist will examine the tissues around the tooth and gently tap on the tooth to test for symptoms.
Measuring the canals
Firstly, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth to be treated and then a hole is made on top of the tooth to get to the pulp chamber. The diseased pulp is then removed. The pulp that was removed during root canal treatment is the part that responds to temperature.
In order to measure the root canal, your dentist places a file into the canal and an x-ray is taken. This is done to know the length of the canal to make sure the entire canal is cleaned and to know how much filling material to put in the cleaned canal.
Cleaning & Shaping
After X-ray is taken root canals have to be cleaned thoroughly with antiseptic. This helps treat and prevent infection. Canal shaping is done using files followed by copious irrigation with normal saline.
Laser Assisted Root Canal
In case of severe infection -Laser, which has a bactericidal action is effective in the root canal. This speeds up the healing process in comparison to traditional treatments.
Once the canals have been thoroughly cleaned & dried with absorbent paper points, the roots are filled with an inert material, Gutta Percha. An x-ray is then taken to make sure the canals are completely filled upto the tip of the root and also to check for an overextended or under filling. A temporary filling is then placed over the tooth.
Final restoration in root canal process
In a root canal treated tooth where half the tooth structure is lost due to caries, a post and core build-up is done. This consists of placement of post, a metal rod into one of the canals and build-up is done called a core.
In most cases, the tooth will need a crown. A crown will help to restore the tooth's strength and protect it from cracking. If a crown is indicated it should be placed soon after having root canal treatment.