A toothache is the most torturous pain ever, the person who has been through this pain would definitely agree. As a dentist, I have seen many patients who are very apprehensive and scared about the root canal treatment. I know it’s difficult to digest and believe that it’s a very simple procedure when you have instruments going in and out of our mouth, teeth being drilled and the scariest part having an injection. But trust me it’s a very simple procedure, so we shall start decoding this treatment.
What is root canal?
The tooth is divided into two parts crown and root. The root has canal system which contains pulp and extends from the crown to the end of the root. This pulp is made of nerves and blood vessels, which gives sensation and provides nutrients to the tooth.
When is the root canal infected?
The main reason behind the infection is the presence of bacteria in the pulp. The reasons which can cause infection are –
- dental cavity – which allows bacteria to reach the pulp
- fractured tooth – due to biting on hard substance or accidents
- tooth discoloration
- wearing of tooth leading to severe sensitivity
- deep filled tooth
According to the American Dental Association, the symptoms that are experienced are –
- sharp or dull pain, pain extending to head, pain on chewing or biting, pain on applying pressure
- sensitivity on taking hot or cold food
- swelling of the gums or on the cheek
- pus oozing out near the gums, recurrence of a pimple near gums or on the side of tooth pain
- tooth discoloration
Root canal procedure:
This procedure is performed by an endodontist or an experienced dentist. The best way to start is to speak to the dentist and explain what are your fears and doubts. This will help in building the trust and help you in getting well-versed with the treatment.
The procedure starts by taking the X-ray of the infected tooth, to examine the extent of infection and shape of the canals. After this, a small injection will be given to numb the area around the tooth so, that there is no pain during the procedure and you are relaxed.
A small hole will be drilled on the tooth surface, which will remove the blackish decay on the tooth and help in reaching the pulp easily. The next step is cleaning the pulp by using a series of files by hand or by using the machine. After scraping and scrub the root canals, it is washed with water to remove debris. After regular flushing and shaping of canals, they are sealed by cones which are followed by sealing the tooth. This completes the procedure which could be done in a single visit or multiple visits. After this, the tooth is trimmed and measurement is taken to fix a cap on the tooth.
Care to be taken:
- Always get a cap after the root canal treatment because it keeps the tooth intact after the procedure.
- In the case of multiple visits take the prescribed medication and never miss the appointment.
- Always maintain the area by proper brushing and flossing
- Visit the dentist regularly so that a simple filling can be done at initial stages which can prevent further decay.