ROOT CANAL THERAPY
Root canal therapy often have a negative connotation when heard by some people. Keep aside what you have heard or read online because root canal isn’t meant to cause immense pain. Instead, it is done to relieve pain and prevent the spread of infection of a badly broken down tooth to the surrounding parts of the mouth.
WHEN IS TREATMENT NEEDED?
Root canal therapy is often recommended for someone with a severely infected tooth wherein a tooth filling will be insufficient.
Our tooth has three layers: enamel (outer), dentin (middle), and pulp (inner). Fillings are recommended for decay infecting up to the dentin layer only. When a decay extends up to the pulp and bacteria started to invade the pulp cavity, the infection becomes irreversible. Our pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues.
In some cases, a tooth without decay may also need a root canal therapy such as chipped tooth and root fracture or crack in the root caused by a trauma. Traumatic dental injuries may cause the death of cells in the pulp that may cause further infection in the bone surrounding the tooth.
To prevent spread of infection to the surrounding structures of the tooth, dentists will recommend you to undergo a root canal therapy,
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS YOU NEED TO UNDERGO ROOT CANAL THERAPY
- Large decay
- Tooth sensitivity when drinking hot & cold water or pain that lasts longer even after removal of the cause of sensitivity (hot or cold water, sweets)
- A severe toothache especially at night or when lying down
- Discoloration of tooth that indicates death of pulp tissue (i.e. grayish tooth)
- Abscess or pimple-like structure in the gums
ROOT CANAL THERAPY PROCEDURE
- RCT procedure will start with the administration of local anesthesia to numb your teeth and other structures (i.e. gums). When the tooth is numb already, the dentist will place rubber dam, a small sheet of rubber that isolates the tooth to keep it clean and dry from saliva.
- Access to the pulp area will be done by drilling a hole on top of the tooth. Then, different sizes of files are used to clean and shape the canal. Files are used to remove the diseased tissues of the pulp.
- Irrigation of antimicrobial agents is also used to disinfect the canal of the tooth and prevent further development of infection.
- Once the pulp canal or the inside of the tooth is clean and dry already, a rubber-like material called gutta percha is used to fill the tooth’s canal. Gutta percha filling is placed to seal the tooth canal.
- Your dentist will close the access opening with a temporary filling while waiting for the fabrication of your crown.
- After a few weeks, your dentist will require you to come back to place the permanent crown on top of the tooth.
Root canal therapy is usually done in several appointments to ensure complete removal of disease-causing bacteria in the canal.
After the procedure, your dentist will schedule you for a follow-up checkup after a month, six months, and a year after your last day of treatment. Several follow-up treatments are done to make sure all the signs of infection are gone.
In addition, it’s important to keep up with a good oral health care routine at home like brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. And be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year to prevent decay from getting worse.
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