Root Canal Therapy gives your tooth a second chance!
Root Canal Therapy (RCT) is an endodontic procedure that strives to save a decaying, diseased, or dying tooth and relieve dental pain. During root canal therapy, any living tissue within the teeth, including the pulp and nerves, along with the decay and infection is removed. The general dentist or a specialist called an endodontist then proceeds to clean and disinfect the canals, shape them, and place root canal fillings to preserve the tooth and its functional abilities.
Everything you Need to Know About Root Canal Treatment
If your dentist has just told you that you need root canal treatment to save a grossly damaged tooth, you might be wondering what this procedure is and how it is done. At Dream Smile Dental, we often come across patients who believe root canal procedures are extremely painful and uncomfortable. This is absolutely incorrect! Root canal procedures, when performed by an experienced dentist, are not painful at all and are completely safe. According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 15 million root canal procedures are performed yearly!
This blog provides an overview of root canal procedures so that you can be well-prepared and know exactly what will happen during your treatment. So, continue reading to find out more about root canals.
What is a Root Canal Procedure?
A root canal procedure is one of the most commonly performed endodontic procedures. “Endo” means inside, and “odont” refers to the teeth. So, endodontic treatment, or a root canal procedure, is performed to treat an infection from within the tooth.
When is a Root Canal Treatment Needed?
To understand in detail why and when a root canal procedure is performed, it is essential to learn about the internal anatomy of the teeth. Our teeth are protected on the outside by a highly mineralized tissue called the enamel, which protects the underlying two layers: dentine and pulp. In case of tooth decay or trauma, when the enamel layer is damaged, the underlying, weaker layers are exposed to the oral environment. The pulp tissue contains blood vessels and nerves. Hence, pulp exposure causes severe pain whenever one eats something or drinks something hot or cold. However, the pain goes away as soon as the stimulus is removed. At this stage, the situation can be easily controlled by placing a filling over the damaged tooth structure.
However, if dental treatment is not sought timely, the exposed pulp tissue gets inflamed and results in severe pain, which is not relieved with painkillers. Other symptoms of a pulp infection include swelling around the gums, also called a gum pimple. Furthermore, an abscess or a pus-filled cavity can also be identified around the affected tooth’s root on an x-ray image. At this stage, the only option available to your dentist to save the tooth from removal is to perform a root canal procedure. However, if a root canal procedure is not performed timely, it can lead to a dental abscess or the irreversible inflammation of the pulp tissue, whereby the only option is to remove that tooth and replace it with an implant-supported prosthesis.
How is Root Canal Treatment Performed?
A root canal procedure is typically performed in multiple stages for teeth with multiple roots. However, single-sitting root canals are sometimes done for single-rooted teeth. A detailed description of the root canal procedure is given below:
Clinical Examination - first, we will perform a clinical examination of the affected tooth and evaluate its x-ray image. The purpose is to identify the underlying cause and the extent of infection.
Access Cavity Preparation - next, we will administer local anesthesia to make you pain-free. Afterward, we will drill a hole in the tooth’s crown to gain access to the underlying pulp. This relieves the pressure within the tooth caused by infection, and the patient feels immediate pain relief.
Pulp Removal from The Tooth’s Interior - after creating an access cavity, we will remove the inflamed pulp from the tooth chamber (the crown’s interior) and the root canals (the interior of the roots) using very small instruments. After this, we will thoroughly wash the tooth’s interior and dry it completely. Finally, we will place a medicament inside the tooth and place a temporary filling over the tooth crown.
Obturation - at the next appointment, we will remove the medicament and use special instruments to shape the root canals. This is done to place an inert material into the root canals called gutta-percha, whose function is to prevent future infection. Next, we will place a permanent restoration over the tooth.
Reinforcing the Tooth - In some cases, where our dentists feel that the remaining tooth structure is not strong enough to support itself - especially the multi-rooted back teeth - they may recommend placing a post-core or a crown over to reinforce it.
What to Expect After a Root Canal Procedure?
You may expect slight swelling or discomfort around the affected tooth for the next few days. However, this swelling and pain will go away in a few days. If the pain persists beyond a week, you should consult your dentist again so that they can identify the cause.
Following a root canal procedure, one should not bite directly with the affected tooth unless it has been reinforced with a post or a crown. The American Association of Endodontists recommends not eating anything for the next few hours immediately after a root canal procedure. A soft diet is advised for the next few days to prevent accidentally biting the root canal-treated tooth as it may affect the healing process.
After a root canal procedure, one should practice good oral hygiene as it helps accelerate the healing process.
A root canal procedure is your dentist’s last resort to save a tooth that has been grossly damaged. Thanks to modern dentistry and the availability of novel dental materials, root canal treatments have an excellent success rate. Root canal-treated teeth usually live as long as non-treated ones, with optimal preventive and diet care.
Dream Smile Dental should be your first choice if you are looking for a renowned and reliable dental practice in New York. We offer high-quality, pain-free dental services to our clients at affordable rates. Book an appointment today, and let us give you the smile you truly deserve!