A root canal treatment is a widely practised modern-day dental therapy to cure a decaying tooth and its infected pulp. Tooth decaying is a common issue found in many people nowadays. An unhealthy eating habit or the lack of proper oral hygiene can cause tooth decaying and, subsequently an infected pulp. However, with modern-day technology and dental treatments, tooth decay, and infected pulps can be easily cured by a Root Canal Treatment.
Not every decaying tooth needs root canal treatment. A dentist or an endodontist, while determining the severity of the decay, would prescribe a simple X-ray of the concerned tooth. If reports suggest significant decay or infection in the pulp, the professional then will recommend a root canal treatment.
The procedure starts with local anaesthesia, which will relax the surrounding area and numb the gums near the affected tooth. In the following steps, the professional then protect the tooth by wrapping it with latex or a rubber ‘dam’ (sheet). This procedure will ensure the concerned area remains dry and protected from the saliva.
After the tooth is wrapped with the rubber ‘dam’, the dentist will drill a hole into the teeth from the top. This hole will make way for the ‘cleaning file’ (also known as root canal file) to remove the infected pulp, damaged nerve tissues. The cleaning file comes with different diameters to ensure the entire interior of the tooth can be adequately cleaned, and the pulp can be removed from the tooth. After all the damaged tissues, wastes are removed from the tooth, and the inside is washed with purified water or sodium hypochlorite solution.
Once the interior is washed, the professional will take a look at the inside to determine if there is an infection. In case of an infection, the dentist will recommend medication for a few days to cure the tooth. Otherwise, the drilled hole will be filled with gutta-percha, and the top will be sealed with Zinc oxide eugenol (ZOE). In certain cases, the decay is so severe that the tooth requires further restoration. This restoration process is typically done by a crown and paste; however, there are other restoration methods used by the dentists as well.
The Root Canal Treatment is not very painful as the dentist, or the endodontist always uses local anaesthesia before performing the procedures. After the therapy is complete, the tooth and the surroundings remain numb for a while. As a result, the patient doesn’t feel any pain or any unpleasant sensitivity for a while.
Typically, after a Root Canal Treatment, one can get back to his/her normal life immediately. A fully grown tooth does not require the nerves to function properly except for the detection of hot or cold sensations. Thus removing the pulp doesn’t harm the primary function of the tooth. Other than avoiding chewing tough food or putting extra stress on the tooth, there aren’t any other restrictions recommended by the experts.
The treatment has a very high success rate, more than 95%, and causes literally no pain to the patients. A typical root canal therapy can last almost a lifetime with no further treatment being needed and is performed over 15 million times annually in the United States of America.