What is root canal treatment?

Root canal Treatment (RCT) is a conservative procedure where a badly carious or fractured or dead tooth needs to be treated by removing the soft part (pulp), which lies in the core of the tooth’s crown and its root/roots. This procedure is carried out in a single visit or multiple visits to basically preserve the affected tooth, and to find any of the following issues:

  • Indications of RCT
  • Decayed tooth
  • Painful tooth
  • Dead or non-vital tooth
  • Trauma or fractured tooth
  • Grossly attrided tooth
  • Intentional RCT

How is root canal treatment done?

  • 1. Using local anaesthesia: The dentist usually numbs the root by depositing local anaesthesia in the surrounding soft tissue surface.
  • 2. Access opening: An uninterrupted and straight line opening is made from the crown of the tooth to the pulp chamber.
  • 3. Cleaning and shaping: Special hand and rotary files are used to remove the infected/unhealthy pulp from the chamber that causes pain in the tooth. Then the canal is shaped and constantly irrigated by saline and other cleaning agents to remove debris and make it sterile.
  • 4. Obturation/filling of the canal: The canal is dried completely and now filled with a permanent inert rubber material called as gutta percha to seal the opening. This acts as a stopper and keeps the canal free of any infection or contamination. A temporary filling material is placed in the crown portion on top of gutta-percha that is then replaced by a permanent filling material and crown.
  • 5. Rebuilding the tooth: A crown that is also called a cap is cemented on top of the permanent filling. It is shade matched with other teeth to give it a natural tooth look. A crown is the most important component here as it may prevent the hallow treated tooth from fracture.
  • Extra support : In some cases, if a tooth is grossly carious and a lot of tooth structure is lost, a post is placed in one of the canals of the tooth to give it extra strength and support and make the tooth more durable.

What are the advantages of root canal treatment?

  1. In case of grossly a decayed tooth, the treatment options are either extraction or root canal treatment. A tooth extraction is irreversible on the other hand a root canal is a conservative approach to save the natural tooth.
  2. A lot of changes happen after a tooth is lost. If it is not replaced in the mouth, teeth may drift and shift. The opposing tooth may supra erupt and the bite may change. Such changes may cause occlusal problems or even Temporomandible joint disorders.
  3. Root canal treatment prevents the bone loss and maintains the stability of adjacent teeth.
  4. As compared to other teeth replacement procedures after an extraction, saving the natural tooth by root canal treatment is cost quite effective and a better option.

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