The root canal is the innermost portion of the tooth. The root canal is filled with nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue called pupl. Sometimes this inner portion of the tooth gets infected and inflamed and can be very painful.
The purpose of a root canal therapy is to clean out the infected tissue and reseal the tooth. Don’t forget, the procedure is used to relieve pain, not cause pain. In fact, with the advances in modern dentistry, most patients say that the procedure is completely painless.
How do I Know if I Need Root Canal Therapy?
If you keep going for regular check-ups, tooth problems won’t usually advance to the point where you need a root canal treatment. Symptoms of needing this therapy include:
- Tenderness to when chewing
- Persistent pain
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Tooth discolouration
- Swelling and discharge near infected tooth
- Swollen lymph glands
Sometimes, there are very few or no symptoms.
A root canal procedure will not be possible in a single visit, but will take a number of appointments. Some of your teeth such as the incisors and canines have a single root, while others, like your molars, have two roots. This makes the procedure a little more time consuming for those teeth.
- After an initial examination and x-rays, the dentist will administer an anaesthetic. Once this has taken effect, the tooth will be isolated by means of a dental dam. The dental dam is a thin sheet of plastic that is placed over the tooth and surrounding areas. This isolates the tooth from infection during the procedure.
- Next, the dentist will drill through the top of the tooth, into the tooth root.
- Extremely small instruments are used to clean out the pulp cavity and root canals. The pulp cavity and root canals are then shaped to accommodate the filling material.
- After the pulp cavity and root canals have been shaped and cleaned, the cavity is then filled with a biocompatible, rubber like substance called gutta-percha. The root canals are very small and have to be re-shaped to allow the gutta-percha to penetrate. A special adhesive is used to firmly cement the gutta-percha in place and completely seal the tooth.
- Normally, the dentist will seal the tooth with a temporary filling while your mouth recovers and final checks are done for re-infection.
- The temporary filling is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the final step. Your dentist will now attach the permanent crown to restore your tooth’s full function. The root canal procedure does not in any way affect the functioning of the tooth. The tooth is still nourished through the surrounding connective tissue.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Procedure
- Deep infection is stopped
- The tooth is saved
- Full chewing function is restored
- The full biting sensation and force is restored
- The tooth has a natural appearance
- Severe strain on adjacent teeth is avoided
With modern dentistry, root canal therapy has become a painless procedure. Infection in the root canal, if not treated, will result in a great deal of discomfort. It could also lead to the loss of the tooth. Root canal therapy is one of the few procedures where the tooth can be saved in the face of severe infection.