What is a root canal?
A root canal is a hollow cavity inside a tooth structure in which the blood vessels nerves and veins run through. This is the anatomical component of the tooth which helps in identifying whether we are eating a hard substance or soft substance or drinking cold substance or hot substance.
What is a root canal treatment?
Root canal treatment is a treatment which is done on an infected tooth. The most common tooth problem is an abscess. A tooth abscess is an acute painful condition where there is pus collection inside the pulp structure of the tooth causing severe pain because of increased pressure inside the tooth structure.
What are the consequences of an abscessed tooth?
An abscessed tooth will have severe pus collection inside the tooth or outside the tooth structure or within the muscle causing swelling in the face and surrounding areas.
The tooth abscess is predominantly caused by streptococcal organisms and other gram positive and negative organisms.
What are the steps in a root canal treatment?
1.The first step in root canal treatment is providing antibiotics and pain Killers if the infection is very severe or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen and paracetamol is more than enough.
2. The local anesthesia is administered to the patient.
3. Then the tooth is opened by using a dental bur and then it is accessed deep Inside by extending the pulp Chamber of the tooth.
4. And intraoral x-ray or a panoramic x-ray is mandatory before a root canal procedure
5. With the help of X-Ray and also using electronic Apex locators to determine the length of the root the tooth will be shaped and cleaned. All the infected pulp tissues and the infected dentin is removed.
6. Then using Sodium hypochlorite and other irrigating agents the tooth is cleaned nicely.
7. Then the check X-ray is taken and the root canal is hermetically sealed using Gutta percha or sealants.
These are some of the steps used in doing a root canal treatment.
What damages the tooth's nerve and pulp in the first place?
1. When we eat a lot of sugary foods and carbohydrates, a little bit of food get stuck between the teeth and remain there.
2. This causes bacterial action in the mouth, generally, Bacteria is present in the oral cavity this is a very proven fact.
3. This bacteria act upon the food particles and causes lactic acid release inside the tooth structure.
4. This lactic acid leeches away the calcium particles of the tooth and removes all the calcium particles inside the enamel structure and causes damage to the enamel of the tooth.
5. Once the enamel is removed then the bacteria gain an easy access into the root canal and reaches the pulp tissue, which is the living tissue inside the tooth.
6. Once the bacteria reach the pulp tissue then the body starts fighting against the bacteria and the white blood cells will try to remove the bacteria, when it fights there is a lot of waste particles which are produced.
7. These waste particles are inflammatory mediators or substances which attracts other white blood cells to attack this bacterial infection causing infected water collection inside the tooth.
8. This accumulated water inside the tooth causes increased pressure on to the nerves. That is why severe pain happens when there is tooth pain.
9. Ultimately if the body's immune response is good it will win otherwise it will give up causing severe tooth pain or swelling of the facial tissues.
What are the signs that a root canal is needed?
1. A very big cavity of the tooth going deep into the pulp tissue.
2. Very severe pain in the tooth and unable to eat.
3. Any extraoral swelling of the face or the gum tissue around the tooth.
4. Whenever during any elective dental procedures if the enamel is damaged, then root canal is essential.
5. Very severe sensitivity which is not able to be treated by the regular sensitivity toothpaste.
6. A tooth which is to be crowned sometimes needs to be electively root canaled.
How painful is a root canal?
1. A root canal is theoretically a painless procedure.
2. Pain is a very subjective symptom which means pain for one person will not be a pain for another person.
3. Pain tolerance depends from person to person and also depends on their psychological factors also.
4. Pain tolerance again depends upon the age the depends upon the sex of the patient also.
5. When there is an infection of the tooth without a proper antibiotic pain could happen during the treatment of the root canal.
6. Pain can be generally avoided by giving a local anesthesia inside the pulp tissue directly also.
7. Long-standing anasthesia like Bupivacaine and benzocaine are much more effective than lidocaine.
Can a dentist perform root canal?
Any dentist who is experienced and qualified in doing regular dental procedures can very well do any root canal procedure. But however, a root canal is so very complex can be identified using the X-ray before the start of the procedure. If the root canal is very complex and very tough to negotiate for the general practitioner, it is always better to consult an endodontist who is a specialist in root canals . Endodontist are doctors who have done post graduation in doing root canal for 3 years MDS after the under graduation of 5 years BDS.
What should one expect after the root canal?
After a root canal procedure is done the tooth will be little tender to touch.
the sensitivity of tooth structure is normal due to some remnant tissues underneath the tooth structure.This will subside on its own. Chewing on the root canal tooth should be avoided least for once a week.Once the crown is placed then the tooth can be used for regular chewing.