Root canal treatment is a surgical procedure which is used to treat a tooth which has been badly affected due to decay. When a person develops serious cavities, it is the last resort treatment option to save the tooth from being extracted. The infected nerves and pulp will be removed from the root canal of the tooth. By doing this, the decay can be removed, thereby preventing the total failure of the tooth.
What are the causes of cavities? How do they form?
Improper brushing and flossing of the teeth.
Accumulation of microbes on the surface of the teeth, which would lead to the deposit of plaque and tartar.
The human mouth is home to numerous bacteria. No matter how hygienic we are, microbes are found to always dwell in our mouths. They can be kept under control by regular cleaning (brushing and flossing). But if they're not removed regularly, they form a layer of bacteria called plaque, which would become hard to get rid of. The acids produced by the plaque removes minerals from the enamel, thereby breaking it down. Gradually, the infection spreads from the enamel to the pulp of the tooth. This causes cavities, which left untreated, can lead to root canal infection.
Common symptoms of root canal infection
Sores or abscess on the surface of the gums.
A severe toothache.
Swelling and bleeding of gums.
Teeth which are highly sensitive to hot and cold foods.
Sometimes, none of the above-mentioned symptoms will be experienced, though the tooth has been excessively delayed.
Surgical procedure for root canal therapy
An endodontist is a specialist in root canal therapy.
Initially, the tooth will have to be screened before the therapy. An x-ray of the tooth is in order to check for any signs of infection to the pulp. If the nerves in the root canal are infected, then the root canal treatment will have to be done.
Local anesthesia is used to numb the infected tooth and the surrounding gums. A rubber dam (sheet of rubber) will be placed around the tooth to keep saliva away during the surgery.
A hole will be drilled into the tooth from its top. Root canal files are used to clean the inner canal of the tooth. The infected pulp, nerves and the bacteria will be removed from the root canal with the help of files of various diameters. The residual nerves and bacteria are removed by scrubbing the walls of the root canal.
The hole is then sealed using a temporary filling, which will then be removed during its restoration. Medication may sometimes be introduced into the root canal, which would prevent further infection.
During the second visit, the root canal will be filled with a special dental material. The hole will then be filled with a permanent filling.
Teeth which have received root canal treatment are most often vulnerable. Hence, a crown needs to be placed on the tooth in order to restore it. This prevents the tooth from cracking or breaking.
A tooth that receives root canal treatment usually lasts a lifetime. The success rate of the therapy is also very high.