What is Root Canal?
A root canal is a procedure that is done to save a tooth that has been extensively decaying or infected. Deep decay, repeated dental procedures on a tooth, big fillings, a crack, or a chip in the tooth can cause the nerve and pulp to become irritated, inflamed, and infected. It can also occur as a result of facial trauma.
The nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed, and the interior is cleaned and sealed during a root canal operation. Without treatment, the tissue around the tooth may get infected, resulting in an abscess.
After a tooth has broken through the gums, the nerve is no longer necessary for its health and function. Its sole purpose is to provide the sensation of hot or cold. The lack of a nerve has no bearing on how your tooth functions.
Root canals have a reputation for being excruciatingly painful. However, the operation is no more unpleasant than getting a filling.
Why is it necessary to remove tooth pulp?
When the nerve tissue or pulp of a tooth is damaged, it breaks down, allowing germs to grow in the pulp chamber. An infection or abscessed tooth can be caused by germs and other decaying material. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops at the end of a tooth’s roots. When an infection spreads beyond the ends of the tooth’s roots, it forms an abscess. An infection in a tooth’s root canal can also lead to:
- Swelling of the face, neck, or head that may extend to other parts of the body
- Bone loss near the root’s tip
- Drainage issues radiate from the root. A hole can form on the side of the tooth, allowing for drainage into the gums, or on the cheek, allowing for draining into the skin.
What Are the Signs That You Need a Root Canal?
If you require a root canal, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Persistent tooth sensitivity, particularly to heat or cold
- When eating or biting, there is a sharp ache.
- You have pimples on your gums.
- Teeth that are chipped or cracked
- Gums that are swollen or uncomfortable
- Gums that are discolored or have a lot of deterioration
Root Canal Procedure
A root canal can be performed by a dentist or an endodontist. A dentist who specializes in the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disorders and injuries of the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth is known as an endodontist. If you have a more complicated root canal, your general dentist may refer you to an endodontist.
The method will go as follows:
- An X-ray will be taken by your dentist to evaluate how the root canals are shaped and to see if there are any signs of infection in the surrounding bone.
They’ll numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Although the nerve is no longer alive, most dentists nevertheless anesthetize the area to make you feel more comfortable.
- A rubber dam (a sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth during treatment to keep the area dry and free of saliva. Drilling a hole through the tooth is the next stage. The tooth’s pulp, germs, and decaying nerve tissue are removed. A succession of root canal files is used to clear up the region. Water or sodium hypochlorite will be sprayed in the area when the procedure is completed to flush away the debris.
- The tooth is sealed once it has been completely cleaned. Some dentists choose to seal the tooth after a week. If there is an infection, for example, your dentist may place a drug into the tooth to treat it. Others may want to seal the tooth on the same day that it is cleaned. If the root canal isn’t completed the same day, a temporary filling is placed in the tooth’s external hole to keep saliva and food out until the next session.
- A sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta-percha are injected into the root canal at the next session to fill the interior of the tooth. To close the access hole established at the start of therapy, a filler will be placed.
- The tooth may need to be restored in the final step. A tooth that requires a root canal usually has a large filling, severe decay, or other weaknesses. As a result, you may require a crown, crown, and post, or other restoration to safeguard it, prevent it from breaking, and return it to full functionality.
Any additional dental work will be discussed with you by your dentist.
Recovery from a Root Canal
For a few hours after a root canal, your mouth will be numb. Most people can return to work, school, or other activities immediately. Before eating, you might wish to wait until the numbness is gone.
The tooth may feel sensitive for the first few days after a root canal because of tissue inflammation, especially if there was discomfort or infection prior to the operation.
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen can usually help (Aleve).
Avoid chewing with the tooth until the root canal operation is completed and a permanent filling or crown is in place. This keeps the area clean and may prevent a delicate tooth from fracturing before it can be fixed completely.
Brush, floss, and use an antiseptic mouthwash as usual, and visit your dentist at regular intervals.
Root Canal Prognosis
Root canal therapy is a highly successful surgery with a success rate of over 95%. Many root canal-treated teeth might last a lifetime.
Complications of the Root Canal
Following a root canal, new infections may develop. The following are some of the most plausible explanations:
- There are more root canals in a tooth than is generally expected (leaving one of them uncleaned).
- An unnoticed break in a tooth’s root.
- A flaw in the restoration has allowed microorganisms to enter the tooth’s interior.
- Bacteria can recontaminate the inner tooth due to a breakdown of the inner sealing substance over time.
Sometimes retreatment will solve the condition, but in some cases, surgery will be required to save the tooth. Apicoectomy, or root-end resection, is the most common operation. It treats inflammation or infection in the bony area around your tooth’s end. The gum tissue is opened, the infected tissue is removed, and sometimes the very end of the root is removed during this surgery. To seal the root canal, a tiny filler may be used.
Cost of a Root Canal
The cost is determined by the severity of the disease and the tooth involved. Endodontic treatment is covered in some form by many dental insurance coverages.
A estimate for a root canal treatment performed by a general dentist (without including a dental restoration after the procedure) could range from appx. ₹2500 to ₹4500.
Alternatives to Root Canal Therapy
If at all feasible, keeping your natural teeth is the best alternative. Your natural teeth enable you to consume a wide range of meals that are important for good nutrition.
Your teeth may be saved with root canal surgery. Tooth extraction and replacement with a bridge, implant, or removable partial denture is the sole alternative to a root canal operation. These solutions are more expensive and take longer to treat than a root canal.
Preventing Root Canals
Because significant decay, repeated dental operations, or big fillings can cause the nerve and pulp of a tooth to become inflamed and infected, there are precautions
you can take to avoid a root canal:
- Brush your teeth at least twice every day.● At least once a day, floss your teeth.
- Avoid sports-related injuries by using a mouthguard.
- See your dentist on a regular basis.