Root canal treatment is a procedure to save or repair a decayed tooth. Without proper treatment, the decayed tooth might get infected and adversely affect the health of the gums as well as rest of the teeth. Abscessed tooth (pus formation in a tooth owing to an infection) may also pose as another major complication if this condition is not treated at the right time. In this procedure, the pulp and the nerve of the decayed tooth are removed; this absence of a nerve in your tooth should not affect your daily routine and also not inflict any pain.
When is root canal treatment needed?
Root canal treatment is only required when dental X-rays show that the pulp has been damaged by a bacterial infection. The pulp will begin to die if it's infected by bacteria, allowing the bacteria to then multiply and spread.
The symptoms of a pulp infection include:
As the infection progresses, these symptoms often disappear as the pulp dies. Your tooth then appears to have healed, but the infection has in fact spread through the root canal system.
Further symptoms eventually occur, such as:
Leaving the infected tooth in your mouth may make it worse. There may also be less chance of the root canal treatment working if the infection within your tooth becomes established.
Antibiotics – medication to treat bacterial infections – aren't effective in treating root canal infections.
What happens during a root canal procedure?
A root canal can be performed by an endodontist (root canalling specialist) or a dentist. To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed. This can be done by either:
At the very onset, an X-ray will be performed to see the size of the infection and the condition of the surrounding gums. The dentist will then apply anesthesia on that spot. It is important to keep the spot as dry as possible. Next, the dentist will put a rubber sheet around your teeth, after which a hole will be drilled to remove the decayed tissues. After the process, you wash your teeth, either with sodium hypochlorite or normal water.
Before having root canal treatment, you'll usually be given a local anaesthetic. This means the procedure shouldn't be painful and should be no more unpleasant than having a filling.
Root canal treatment is usually successful. In about 9 out of 10 cases, a tooth can survive for up to 10 years after root canal treatment. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!