Although you might have heard the term’ root canal treatment’ or even been advised one, what exactly does it entail? Well, the space in the tooth from the main center (pulp chamber) to the length of the root is called the root canal. Each of the teeth has one to four root canals, which vary depending upon the specific tooth. Then there are ‘accessory canals’ which branch out from the main canal but vary all through the different teeth.
The main nerve of each tooth originates from the tooth center or pulp chamber and has tiny canals inside it. If there is any infection or trauma, the tooth requires root canal therapy. Other reasons that require root canal include tooth decay that goes through the enamel and dentin and reaches right into the pulp. This makes it prone to infections and exposure to heat and cold is felt. Another reasons that you need the root canal treatment is due to abscessed tooth, which are usually decayed. Chipped tooth or broken teeth results in the nerve exposure which again calls for a root canal treatment.
Procedure of Root Canal
In most cases, your dentist will schedule multiple visits to complete the process of root canal treatment. Usually after an initial evaluation of your oral health, the dental clinic assistant will schedule appointments and let you know the number of sessions that will be needed. If the dentist finds an abscess or an infection in the tooth, antibiotics are usually prescribed and only after the infection is stemmed that the root canal procedure can start. In most cases, a local anesthesia is given before the procedure starts but if you have a known allergy to anesthesia, please inform the dental clinic. The other steps that are generally followed in a root canal procedure are:
• A dental x-ray is taken of the tooth and the entire tooth is visible and is used as a reference.
• After the tooth gets numb, a rubber dam is placed over your mouth. This shield is made from latex and keeps the tooth isolated from the saliva. It needs to be extremely dry before the procedure starts.
• The dentist may use different chemicals to disinfect the tooth from both outside and inside. The installed latex dam will ensure that the chemicals do not enter your mouth.
• A small hole is drilled in the pulp chamber and using tiny files, the nerves and infected tissue is removed. Some of the tools are used by hand while others are used using the rotary instrument.
• Another x-ray is taken to determine the length of the root and it is important that the entire root is removed to ensure that there are no infections and aches later on. To remove the entire root, all of the nerve tissue from the tip of the tooth is removed.
• After the entire tooth has been cleaned, it is dried and a filling of rubberized material is put in to seal the tooth.
• The dentist will fill in the cavity after cleaning the decayed portions. Usually porcelain crown is put on or a gold capping is done, as per the individual’s request. Capping or putting a crown is important as the blood supply and nerves have been removed and it can turn brittle over time.