List of Treatments
- Single sitting root canal treatments
- Multiple sitting
- Re treatments
- Post and core
- Cast post
- Crown and bridge
What is root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is also known as endodontic therapy which is a dental procedure where the dental pulp is extracted from the tooth. As a specialty in Endodontics and one of the branches of dentistry, removing the pulp as a specialized procedure is done by an endodontist. With experience and skill, an endodontist restores the original tooth by treating a root canal problem. As a soft tissue, the dental pulp is located in the centre of the tooth and is comprised of lymph and blood vessels which also includes the nerve system. In case of injury, fracture or a cavity which is deep or diseased, the pulp gets affected and dies as it is exposed to bacteria. The endodontist shapes, cleans and sterilizes the affected area besides removing the pulp which would be inflamed. Gutta percha and a dental sealer are filled into the cavity so that the infection is arrested. The endodontist also does a restoration which is complex in nature or places a crown so that the tooth is protected.
In which way does the dental pulp get infected?
There are innumerable bacteria that reside or exist in the mouth. Bacteria attack a tooth or teeth which is broken down or fractured or if the filling is an old one, through decay or through a gap, the teeth become diseased or pathologic. Sometimes, the condition of the tooth becomes diseased slowly over a period of time and in some cases it is sooner. Normally an endodontist or a general dentist would sterilize the area, clean, fill the tooth or teeth and seal it after removal of the infected dental pulp.
What is gutta-percha and why is it used?
The milky juice which is extracted from the Malaysian trees is called gutta-percha. The gutta-percha is purified and converted or changed into a substance that is thick and rubbery in nature. Gutta-percha is ADA (American Dental Association) certified and is the material that is approved as a dental filling in root canal treatment. During the root canal treatment procedure, the nerve system and the dental pulp are removed and the empty cavity is filled with gutta-percha and a dental sealer by an endodontist.
What does the root canal procedure entail?
During the first sitting for the root canal procedure, the endodontist would at first numb the targeted area or the tooth which is infected and a rubber dam would be placed. The pulp would be removed through an opening in the crown of the tooth. The empty cavity or the canal will be thoroughly cleaned with dental instruments or files and irrigants would be used with the help of hand-held or mechanical instruments to flush out the area till it is completely clean. The shaping of the canal would take place to the size that is needed and filled with gutta-percha and an endodontic sealer. A temporary filling comprising of medications to heal the tooth would be placed in the cavity and left open so that the remaining liquid that is infected would drain out. Antibiotics would be prescribed by the dentist to prevent further infection. At the second visit, the temporary filling would be removed and a permanent one would be placed with a gold or porcelain crown for the tooth according to the client’s or patient’s preferences.
Is it necessary for a tooth or teeth to be recapped after the root canal treatment?
It is very important for a tooth or teeth to be recapped which have undergone root canal treatment as the root canal procedure causes the tooth to be without function or is dead and cannot perform its former duties. As the tooth does not have its original capacity, it can become discoloured and brittle which in turn can easily lead to fracturing or being broken faster which can cause complications. The tooth or teeth that have undergone the root canal treatment need to be capped for enhancement of the tooth and bring back its earlier shape and size which would prevent or avoid fracturing, improve the person’s bite and would help to chew food in a normal manner.
What are the types of patients who would need root canal treatment or endodontic therapy?
There are many signs and symptoms that indicate the need for root canal treatment or endodontic therapy. People or patients who have a tooth or teeth that is loose and shaking and who are sensitive to cold and hot beverages or foods, those who have a sudden pain in the teeth or tooth and people who have pain while chewing or biting food would need endodontic therapy. If the patient has pain after a filling or after the replacement of a filling for over 4-6 weeks or has sensitivity in one particular tooth that is more than the other teeth and those who have a dull ache in the tooth or a pain that is sudden which can wake one up at night would require root canal treatment. In some cases, there would be chronic pain or pressure that is continuous in the areas around the eyes, neck and ears or there might be a bubble on the gum which contains pus that would leak out along with blood when pressed but may not cause pain. If the dentist has recommended X-rays and has diagnosed the problem with a clinical examination, then the patient would need root canal treatment or endodontic therapy.
Why is root canal treatment better than extraction and what are the benefits?
As there would be dental problems due to loss of a tooth or teeth, it is necessary to retain the remaining original teeth. Root canal therapy with its benefits helps in keeping the tooth or teeth intact as extraction causes TMJ or temporomandibular pain, bite problems, dental treatment for adjacent or the surrounding teeth and teeth that move or drift.