Root canal treatment is a way that can repair and save damaged or infected tooth without removing it permanently. The treatment is done when the pulp (the soft tissue inside the root canal that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue) becomes inflamed or infected.
The different causes of this inflammation or infection are deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, a crack in the tooth and an injury to a tooth. The untreated pulp inflammation can lead to an abscess and cause pain.
The common signs which may warn you about pulp damage or infection are a pain, discoloration of the tooth, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and difficulty in chewing. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.
The procedure of root canal treatment includes removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it.
The general sequence of a root canal procedure is as follows:
Firstly the tooth to be treated and the surrounding tissues is numbed by local anesthesia which is given by an injection.
A thin sheet of rubber or vinyl called a dental dam is placed over the affected tooth as well as adjacent teeth.
A small access hole is drilled from behind of the tooth. This allows access to the pulp chamber and root canals for treatment.
With specially designed instruments, diseased and dead pulp tissue is removed from the tooth.
The canals are disinfected using antiseptic and antibacterial solutions.
A root canal filling material “gutta-percha” is placed in the canals, and the tooth is sealed to protect it from contamination.
Then a crown made of metal or inert material is placed over the tooth to seal and protect it from future damage. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.
Sharing her experience with root canal treatment, Dr. Meenakshi Rai Mukherjee, Dentist, Apollo clinic Electronic city, Bengaluru ensures that with proper aftercare, most teeth with root canal treatment can last a lifetime and can function similar to the natural teeth.