Root Canal Treatment (RCT)
While previously a diseased nerve in your tooth would mean losing that tooth, now you can save your full smile with the help of a dental procedure called Root Canal Treatment (RCT).
A cracked tooth or a deep cavity can be an invitation for bacteria and germs to penetrate the pulp tissue and cause an infection. Without the right treatment, it may lead to an abscess that results in pain and swelling if not removed in due time. Additional injuries may occur in the jawbones as well as having an impact on your general health.
- Symptoms of an Abscessed Tooth
- What happens during a Root Canal?
- Is Root Canal A Painful Dental Treatment?
- Will My Teeth Look Different After The Root Canal?
Your tooth’s crown is composed of a thick layer of dentine overlaid by the harder enamel exterior layer. These two act as protectors to the softer and vulnerable core of your tooth called the pulp that is, in essence, a mixture of blood vessels and nerves that run from the tip of the tooth roots up to the outer crown. Typical pulp damage that results in the need for root canal treatment include symptoms like:
- Gum swelling near the affected tooth pulps
- Facial swelling
- Oozing from the affected pulps
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold ingestions
- Pain when chewing or biting
However, there may not even be any warning signs, but even without the occurrence of these symptoms, your dentist will usually be able to point out if there’s a problem emerging.
Root canal treatment can save your tooth by removing the damaged, infected tissue from the inside layers of the tooth and prevent it from future infections. Without an RCT the infection will most likely spread out, and the tooth will need extraction.
RCT will take one to three appointments in which your dentist extracts the problematic tissue, cleans and seals the inside of your tooth and fills it with a dental composite.
Step by Step Root Canal Procedure:
1. Before starting the procedure, the dentist completes an examination of the tooth in order to get the full scope of the problem and treat it effectively. This process usually involves a physical examination of the mouth as well as an X-ray render to observe the pulp chamber.
2. A local anaesthetic is administered to numb the tooth in order to make the patient as comfortable as possible during the process.
3. The dentist will drill into the crown to open the tooth, allowing space to insert the dental instruments into the pulp chamber and root canals to perform a deep clean of the infected/inflamed pulp. The resulting space is cleaned, shaped, and arranged for a special filling that replaces the former pulp.
4. The root canal is filled with a biocompatible material, as for example, gutta-percha. Finally, an adhesive dental cement is used to completely seal the area and prevent any future infections.
Today, with local anaesthesia and available modern dental techniques, the majority of patients feel little to no pain during a RCT.
Most people say that a root canal treatment hurts no more than a regular filling and are able to resume their day-to-day activities right away. Given that a person in need of an RCT is often already experiencing extreme pain, the treatment can even come across as relief from it with very minimal recovery time.
After the anaesthetic wears off, you may feel some soreness when chewing in the intervened area, especially if that tooth was abscessed before the RCT. Though the problematic nerves are no longer inside the tooth, the outer nerves that are found around the tooth will probably be still inflamed from the treatment of the previous abscess.
The recommended approach is to chew on the other side of the mouth, away from the area of the tooth in question, for a couple of days after the procedure so that the tissue, nerves and bone around it can rest and reduce inflammation. In case of serious pain and discomfort, your dentist will advise you regarding taking over-the-counter pain medication, if needed.
With time, The procedure may result in a slight darker tooth. The treatment is not at fault here, but the disease that led to it. Blood and infections on the tissue can sometimes stain the tooth’s crown. It can happen immediately when the infection occurs or later even after the RCT.
This and other problems like when there’s substantial tooth decay can be resolved by placing a crown on it, thus helping restore the shape, strength, and tone of the problematic tooth.
Good oral health habits, with regular brushing, flossing and the necessary check-ups will go a long way to keep your restored tooth in the best possible conditions.