Root Canal Treatment

1. What is Root Canal Treatment?

Root canal treatment (RCT) is the cleaning and shaping of the infected canals inside the root portion of the tooth. The canals house the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth, collectively called the “pulp”. In other words, RCT means the removal of these diseased nerves and blood vessels rendering the tooth “dead”.

A common reason for root canal treatment is an infected or abscessed tooth, which may result from a deep cavity, periodontal (gum) disease, or even a fractured tooth. Also, a sharp blow to a tooth can interfere with the blood supply or damage the pulp. Symptoms may include pain or sensitivity to hot or cold food. But don’t be reassured if pain disappears – that could mean the nerve has died.

Depending on the configuration of the root, a tooth may have one or more canals. Usually, anterior teeth (those teeth in front) have a single canal while posterior teeth (molars and premolars) may have two to four canals.

As these canals are narrow, the dentist uses a series of special, flexible hand-held instruments to clean the canals and remove dead pulp debris and bacteria. Afterwards, the dentist shapes each canal to receive a filling. All canals must be solidly filled, or else tissue fluid from the bone could leak back into any voids in the canal. These toxins will then seep out of the root end into the bone to cause more inflammation.

2. Why opt for Root Canal Treatment?

The objectives of RCT are to remove bacteria and clean out the infection from the pulp chamber and root canals and to completely fill these with a solid filling material to prevent future trouble.

While an endodontically treated tooth has been rendered lifeless, it is still a better option than a false tooth. After RCT, a treated tooth is still anchored to the bone, providing the necessary support for biting and chewing. A false tooth does not provide this anchor and support.

The necessity of root canal treatment is determined after some x-rays are taken and clinical examination have been done. The entire treatment usually requires more than one visit to your dentist. Make sure you keep those apoointments, because this will prevent delays in treatment and healing. Some antibiotics and medications may be prescribed to hasten the healing and reduce swelling

An endodontically treated tooth is not considered completely done if there is no final filling or restoration. A final restoration can either be a porcelain crown or a large restoration, depending on the extent of remaining tooth structure. If it is not covered with a crown or final filling, there is a possibility for your root canal treatment to fail.