The goal of performing a root canal treatment is to remove bacteria or dead tissue from an infected tooth and save it from further damage. This procedure is used by dentists to save your badly infected tooth, but there many misconceptions about root canal especially about causing acute pain during the procedure. There many things you still need to know about a root canal regardless of what you may have read about its treatment. It would be better to get accurate information about this treatment and this can be done by talking to your dentist.
What is Root Canal Treatment?
Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic therapy, is a procedure performed by a dentist or endodontist to treat an infected tooth pulp in order to eliminate the infection and protect the tooth from getting bacteria invasion in the future. The treatment involves removing nerve tissue and blood vessels that make up the pulp of the infected tooth and subsequently clean and decontaminate the pulp chamber. With the modern techniques used in the dental industry, this treatment can be done without pain which has long been the fear of many people. The new technology is helping endodontists to perform root canal therapy on their patients and will require one or more visits.
When is Root Canal Therapy needed?
While your dentist or endodontist will determine the severity of your tooth problem and the treatment needed to fix it, root canal treatment seems to be the most commonly prescribed solution to a bacteria invasion. This treatment is recommended to prevent infection of the tissue around the affected tooth which may result in abscesses. It is helpful to stop the progression of bacteria, especially when it has caused damage deep inside the tooth. In case of an untreated bacteria-infected pulp inside the tooth or a complicated cavity, endodontists recommend this therapy to clean and disinfect inside of the tooth, as well as its surrounding tissue.
Leaving an infected tooth untreated, the bacteria will continue to spread to other teeth which will prompt your dentist to consider removing the tooth. There are obvious signs that will indicate you need an endodontic therapy and these include an abscess – a situation when the bacterial infection spread to the roots of the tooth. A loss of bone in the tip of the roots of the tooth and swelling that spread to the face, head or neck are other symptoms that need root canal treatment.
What to Expect During Procedures of Root Canal
Normally, the process of performing a root canal treatment after examining the infected tooth through X-ray takes four separate steps which can either be one or two visits to your dentist office. The first step of the treatment is when your dentist uses a needle to inject an anesthesia into the affected tooth, so you won’t feel anything – though you will sense the needle as it goes into the tooth, but not a thing to worry about. After the tooth is numbed, a small rubber material will be placed on the tooth to keep it away from other teeth and allow it to remain clean and dry throughout the treatment.
The next step involves using a small dental drill to open up the surface of the tooth that will enable your dentist to get a clear picture of what the inside of the tooth looks like. After that, he or she will use dental files to clean inside of the tooth, including the infected pulp also found in it. As a way of preventing the tooth from future attack and clearing the remaining pulp, your dentist will use the files to restore back the form of the root and its inner chamber and applies an anti-bacterial solution to eliminate the remaining bacteria in the debris.
The third step in the procedure is to fill the tooth after its chamber has been properly cleaned and well dried. However, your dentist will now use a temporary filling to close the opening of the tooth while an appointment will be made for a permanent crown which is usually done after a few weeks of treatment.
Lastly, you’ll come for the final stage of the treatment which is placing a permanent crown on the surface of the tooth. Your dentist may also decide to use another type of restoration that suits your need or performs little surgery to place an item inside of the tooth which will enable the restoration or crown fits well.
Some Myths About Root Canal Treatment
While root canal treatment is intended to save a tooth that is badly damaged due to infection and to prevent the bacteria from spreading to other teeth and surrounding tissues, there have been several myths about root canal treatment which are completely untrue. Below are some of the things you need to know about this therapy;
Endodontic therapy (root canal treatment) is always painful.
Contrary to what some people think about this treatment, it is usually a comfortable procedure without any pain. Over some decades ago before the arrival of modern technology and use of local anesthetic in dentistry, the therapy used to be quite uncomfortable.
Unable to feel pain after removal of tooth’s nerves.
This is an incorrect statement that many people believe will happen after the procedure. Actually, the treated tooth may lose its sensitivity to hot or cold food immediately after the treatment, but this will only last for a few days when everything comes back to normal.
Possibility of falling sick after treatment.
One of the wrong information about receiving a root canal treatment is that it causes illness in patients. This claim was based on a research carried out almost a century ago by a medical scientist but which had been proven to be wrong.
Why root canal treatment instead of tooth removal.
Your dentist will recommend root canal treatment instead of removing the tooth in order to save your natural teeth. The therapy is cost-effective when performed using a suitable restoration to treat infected pulp of the tooth. Extraction of the tooth, placing a bridge or dental implant is more expensive than endodontic treatment.