Root canal treatment is an often straightforward procedure to relieve dental pain and save your teeth. Root canal treatment (endodontics) is a dental procedure used to treat infection at the centre of a tooth (the root canal system). The infection is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth and invade the tooth. This can happen after: tooth decay, leaky fillings, damage to teeth as a result of trauma, such as a fall.
Root canal treatment (RCT) and endodontic treatment are the more correct terms for a procedure that treats the nerve of the tooth. Endodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals specifically with the tooth pulp and tissues surrounding the root of the tooth. A root canal problem may be treated by a general dentist or by an endodontist. An endodontist is a dentist who has gone to multiple years of specialty training after dental school to focus exclusively on root canal treatments. General dentists are qualified to perform root canals but may refer a patient to an endodontist if the tooth is particularly complicated or is being treated for the second time.
Endodontic therapy, also known as endodontic treatment or root canal therapy, is a treatment sequence for the infected pulp of a tooth which results in the elimination of infection and the protection of the decontaminated tooth from future microbial invasion. Root canals, and their associated pulp chamber, are the physical hollows within a tooth that are naturally inhabited by nerve tissue, blood vessels and other cellular entities. Together, these items constitute the dental pulp.
The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp) and cleaning and disinfecting it, then filling and sealing it. Root canal treatment consists of a number of steps that take place over several office visits, depending on the situation. These steps are: The endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, and then local anesthesia is administered to the affected tooth. A dental dam is usually placed over the affected tooth to isolate it and keep it free from saliva. The endodontist makes an opening through the back of a front tooth or the crown of a molar or pre-molar to remove the diseased pulp, called a pulpectomy. Next, the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned and shaped in preparation for a filling. The endodontist fills the root canal with gutta percha material. If more than one visit is needed, a temporary filling is placed in the crown opening to protect the tooth between dental visits. The temporary filling is removed and the pulp chamber and root canal are permanently filled with gutta percha into each of the canals and is sealed in place with cement. Sometimes a metal or plastic rod is placed in the canal for structural support. In the final step, a crown is usually placed over the tooth to restore its natural shape and appearance. If the tooth is broken, a post may be required to build it up prior to placing a crown.
Root Canal Treatment is unavoidable when the nerve or blood supply of the tooth is infected through decay or injury. The root canal procedure is performed to save a damaged or badly infected tooth, instead of extracting it. The most common causes of tooth damage or infection are, cavities occurring due to plaque accumulation, cracked or broken tooth due to any accidents or trauma, gum diseases, and repeated dental treatment to a particular tooth. These issues can cause pulp inflammation, infection and damage the pulp irreversibly. The person will at times experience excruciating pain. The pain may subside when the pulp dies, but very often returns as the infection spreads.
In some cases there is a possibility of some side effects or re-occurrence of pain. Some after effects of root canal treatment are listed below in detail.
Slight Discoloration of tooth : As nerve is removed from tooth it causes slight discoloration. And in most cases as a crown is required after root canal treatment this discoloration is never visible.
Reduced capability of treated tooth : As tooth structure is slightly weakened after Root canal treatment, it will not have its original capabilities. And it at slightly higher risk of tooth fractures compared to other tooth. Those who have tooth with Root canal treatment, should avoid eating hard food like almonds, or use other teeth to eat them.
Root canal treatment itself may fail : Root canal treatment can fail in around 5% patient. This will lead to extraction of tooth. Such failure mostly occurs because of unknown reason and it is unavoidable.
Infection : Root canal treated tooth may become infected like other teeth.
Below is a quick guide to making sure that the affected tooth heals quickly and returns to its normal function: Swelling, tenderness, and pain on and near the affected area are normal occurrences during the first few days following treatment. Such signs are actually indicators of your body undergoing the natural healing process. Keep in mind that pain medications may cause you to be more drowsy than usual so caution should be exercised when operating heavy machinery or when driving.
Do not attempt to bite or chew on the treated tooth until your dentist tells you that it has completely healed.
Brush and floss as you normally would, but avoid the area near the affected tooth.
Stick to a soft food diet until normal teeth function has been restored.
Root canals are extremely successful, and can bring real relief to a painful tooth. However, there will probably be some tenderness in and around the tooth for a few days, and perhaps even a few weeks (for most folks, it’s not very long) Remember, you just got a tooth hollowed out -- it may be sensitive for a short while. In most cases, this goes away after a few days/weeks.
The cost of root canal varies from clinic to clinic deoebding upon the infrastructure, vincity,Doctor's Experience, Qualification etc. Normaly Price starts from INR 2000 and go upto 8000. Post root canal you require a crown which is excluded in your treatment cost, the crown pricing starts at 1500.
A treated and restored tooth can last a lifetime with proper care. Root canals have a high success rate.
Here are the alternatives: Extraction -- less expensive on short run, and very expensive long term.
Do nothing -- the tooth may eventually become un-restorable, more infected, calcified, which may end up in tooth loss or higher costs;
Implant -- not really an alternative in cases when root canal procedure can be performed because it is often more expensive. Implants are only good when root canal treatment is not possible due to extensive root decay, large fractures, severe calcification; it is not a good alternative if previous root canal treatment did not succeed.
Some dentists are ok with trying a very large filling instead of a root canal (although most won't, because the success rate is not high.)
Pulp capping offers an alternative to root canal treatments. If the tooth's nerve is still alive, pulp capping can be used to restrict the tooth decay from infiltrating the pulp chamber.
Rs. 2,000 - Rs. 1,5000
Having your dentist tell you that you need a root canal, can be a daunting affair. This means that the pulp or soft tissue inside a tooth has been damaged by bacterial infection. A root canal involves removing the damaged pulp, cleaning the infection and filling in the emptied space. Not every tooth infection requires a root canal and hence it is essential to know the indication of a root canal.
Discomfort ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain can be a sign that you need root canal treatment. This type of pain is usually characterized by throbbing and may change as you switch positions. It is usually triggered by chewing, applying pressure on the tooth or eating something cold or hot. In some cases, the patient may not be able to indicate the exact tooth that is hurting but can only identify the painful area.
Swelling that indicates the need of root canal treatment can range from being slightly red and inflamed to pronounced lumps on the gums. In some extreme cases, this swelling may extend out of the gums into the face and neck region. Sometimes, a pus filled boil with a pimple like head may also form on the gums. If this head bursts, the patient may notice a foul taste in the mouth. This swelling can come and go as the tooth decay deteriorates and may or may not be accompanied by pain. Teeth may also feel like they have been pushed out of their sockets and are taller than usual.
Discolouring of teeth can be a sign of internal tooth damage. This is especially noted if the teeth take on a dark yellow, grey or blackish tint. Tooth discolouration is fairly common in cases where the tooth has undergone trauma such as an accident etc.
Exposure of the dental nerves
At times during regular dental work, the nerves in the tooth may be exposed. This indicates an exposure of pulp tissue and can trigger pulp degeneration if left untreated.
However, all of the above symptoms can be symptoms of other types of dental problems as well and do not necessarily individually indicate the need for a root canal. Only a dentist can properly diagnose a need for root canal treatment after a physical examination and testing.
When a small cavity isn't treated in time, the tooth may get so badly decayed that normal filling cannot solve the problem. In such cases, your dentist will probably advise you to have a root canal. When performing a root canal, the dentist will remove the nerves and pulp within the tooth, clean the inside of the tooth and seal it. After this procedure your tooth will not sense anything and should be pain free. However in some cases, you may still experience pain after a root canal. There are four main causes of this pain.
Swelling of ligament around the tooth
One of the signs that you need a root canal is swelling of the gums. Even after the nerves and pulp within the tooth are removed, the ligaments around the infected tooth may still be swollen. This can take some time before the tissue is normal again. In most cases this is the cause for pain after a root canal procedure.
Part of the root canal procedure is to clean the insides of the tooth. Here the dentist must be very careful to not go beyond the tooth. In some cases the file used to clean the tooth may go beyond the root and damage the tissue there. Another possibility is that the sealant used to fill the tooth may go beyond the root thus aggravating the tissue. This can take some time to heal and can cause pain.
After the tooth has been cleaned, the dentist fills the tooth with a sealant. If excessive sealant is filled in the tooth, it may become taller than the surrounding teeth. This makes you hit that tooth first when you close your jaw and puts extra pressure on it resulting in soreness and pain. Your dentists will need to remove the excess sealant to resolve this issue.
Phantom pain is rare when it comes to root canals. This occurs when the nerve leading upto the tooth still behaves like it were connected to the tooth despite the nerve within the tooth being completely removed. The peripheral nerves will need to be treated to resolve this issue.
In most cases these events cannot be prevented. There is also no reason to expect that this is a symptom of your root canal being a failure. Stay in touch with your dentist and brush and floss your teeth regularly. You will soon notice the pain subsiding.
Whether the question is based on cost or time or your health, a root canal is always the best option (not better) as long as your teeth are in a condition to be saved by a root canal procedure. Even a costly and advanced treatment procedure such as a dental implant treatment cannot wholly replicate the function of a natural tooth. So, better save your own teeth.
And regarding the cost of treatment, the price of tooth extraction may be less, but when you add up the cost of replacement teeth with either an implant or a bridge, the cost becomes much more than a root canal followed by a crown.
And you can't leave a lost space without replacing with an artificial tooth as it may lead to a variety of problems.