Root Canal Defined
Do you have a tooth that is badly decayed? If the extent of the decay is huge, then the tooth's root may get inflamed and severely infected. In this case, you need a root canal treatment.
The natural cavity found in the center of your tooth is called the root canal. You can find the pulp and the nerve within this area.
When you have tooth decay, the pulp and nerve tissue at the center of the tooth breaks down. The bacteria multiply, causing infection. Left untreated, the infection can worsen, and the tooth may become abscessed, or filled with pus. An abscessed tooth causes extreme pain. It can even destroy the bone, which surrounds the tooth.
In the past, if tooth decay involves an injured or diseased pulp, the affected tooth is usually extracted. Nowadays, you can have your decayed tooth repaired and saved through a root canal procedure.
How do you know if you need a root canal?
- You find it severely painful to chew.
- Your tooth has a prolonged and strong sensitivity to cold or heat.
- Your tooth becomes discolored.
- You have a recurring or persistent pimple on the gums close to the decaying tooth.
What are the common causes of decay involving the nerve and root?
- Cracked tooth
- Injury or trauma to the tooth , either in the past or recent
- Frequent dental treatments
- Deep cavity
If your dentist sees fit, he will do a root canal to address the problem. He will remove the damaged pulp and nerve, clean and disinfect the area, then fill and seal it.
What can you expect during a root canal?
If your dentist thinks that a root canal is required, he will determine where the decay is through an x-ray.
He will administer local anesthesia to numb the infected area.
He will make an opening in the tooth's crown to reach the pulp chamber. He will remove the inflamed or infected tissue. He will clean the canals using special files and irrigation. He will then shape the canals prior to filling them.
- Filling the canals
Your dentist will fill the canals using a material called gutta-percha. The filling keeps the canals safe from infection.
- Rebuilding the tooth
Your dentist will seal the opening by placing a temporary filling material on the surface of the gutta-percha. If the dentist thinks it is necessary, he will put a post close to the gutta-percha in the root to provide greater support.
- Putting the crown
When the tooth is ready for a permanent filling, the dentist will put a crown over the tooth's top, and cement it into place. The crown will make the tooth look natural in shape and appearance.