Originally, a root canal is the cavity in the root of a tooth that contains the dental pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. However, it also refers to a dental treatment in which diseased tissues in a root canal is extracted and replaced with an inert dental material. The latter is called “root canal treatment.”
Inside every tooth, there is a soft tissue called pulp. It is located beneath the tooth enamel and a hard layer called dentin. The pulp tissue contains blood vessels, nerves, and other connective tissues, which help your tooth root to grow during early development. However, after full development of the tooth, the dental pulp is less needed as the mature tooth is nourished by the tissues around it. That is, a fully-developed tooth can survive without the dental pulp.
Root canal treatment eliminates diseased tissues and bacteria from the infected root canal, and save the tooth by preventing bacterial re-infection. During the root canal procedure, the dentist removes the infected or inflamed pulp from inside the affected tooth. Then, the tooth is filled and sealed after it has been carefully cleaned and disinfected.
Have you been told to undergo root canal surgery? You don’t need to be worried. Root canal procedure is comfortable and can help to relieve your dental pain and save your natural tooth. Lots of teeth are treated and saved every year using the root canal procedure. Read on to know more about the procedure.
Basic Facts about Root Canal Treatment
- Root canal treatment is used to eliminate diseased pulp of a tooth.
- The procedure is very painful but is meant to be a pain-relieving treatment.
- The real term for root canal procedure is endodontic therapy.
- Root canal treatment has varying costs, but generally less costly than undergoing tooth removal procedures.
With the advancement in dental technology, the modern root canal procedure has been simplified and can be easily completed within one or two dental appointments. However, the required number of dental visits depends on the patient’s dental condition. Like stated above, the procedure is extremely effective and painful but the use of local anesthesia makes the procedure relatively painless. In no time, you will be chewing, eating, biting, and smiling with ease.
When You Need Root Canal Surgery?
Root canal surgery is needed for a deep cavity, a cracked tooth, or issues with a previous dental filling. You may need root canal treatment when you discover that your teeth are sensitive, especially to hot and cold sensations. Other symptoms that may need a root canal procedure include:
- Deep decay in the gum or darkening of the gums
- Swollen or tender gums
- Persistent sensitivity to hot or cold, even after the cause of the sensation has been removed
- Pimples on the gums
- Severe pain while biting or chewing
Steps Involved in Root Canal Surgery
Root canal surgery can be completed in four basic steps:
1. Removal of Infected Pulp Materials
The first step in the root canal procedure is to remove the infected pulp material from the root canal. The dentist would make a small access hole on the surface of the affected tooth and use very small files to remove the infected and dead pulp tissues. The canal contains nerves that would make the extraction painful. So, the patient must be placed under local anesthesia. The dentist would extract everything inside the root canal to ensure that all infected materials are eliminated.
2. Cleaning and Disinfecting the Root Canal
The next step is to clean and disinfect the infected area. The dentist would use some tiny files and irrigation solutions to clean, shape, and decontaminates the hollow area.
3. Filling the Root Canal
After the hollow area has been shaped and thoroughly disinfected, the space is filled with a rubber-like inert material, and adhesive cement is used to seal the canal completely. Note that after the root canal procedure, the tooth is completely dead as the root nerves were also removed during the extraction of pulp materials. So, the patient will no longer feel any sensitivity or pain in that tooth.
4. Adding a crown or filling
The root canal procedure makes the affected tooth more fragile and prone to break over time – there is no pulp to supply nourishment and nourishment from the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone may not be adequate. So, a dental crown or dental filling is necessary for protection. While the dental crown or filling is being prepared, the patient should not bite or chew hard on the tooth. But once the dental crown or filling is added, the patient can use the tooth as before.
Like stated above, root canal procedure can be completed in just one dental appointment, but in the case of large infections, multi-canals, or curved canals, the procedure may take one or two more dental appointments.
Benefits of Root Canal Treatment
The root canal treatment has many benefits, such as:
- It restores efficient chewing
- It restores the normal biting force
- It restores the natural appearance
Root Canal Recovery
During the root canal treatment, patients are given local anesthesia so they will not feel any pain. But the effect of the local anesthesia should go away 2 to 4 hours after the procedure. Though patients can return to their work or school soon after the procedure, patients are not advised to eat until the effect of the anesthesia is gone completely.
More so, when the numbness is gone, the patient will start to feel pain and mild discomfort in the affected area. Normally, this pain and mild discomfort should go away after a few days, otherwise, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Cost of a Root Canal Treatment
The cost of root canal treatment largely depends on the affected tooth (location and type) and how complex the dental case is. For instance, root canals in molars are more difficult to treat and, therefore, usually cost more. However, most insurance companies cover endodontic treatment.
A root canal treatment is also known as endodontic treatment and is used to remove the infected pulp from the root canal. It should be handled by a specialist to avoid dental complication. To learn more about root canal treatment, speak to any of our professional dentists today.