A root canal is a treatment used to remove the nerve and pulp from a tooth in order to save it from getting completely decayed. When a tooth is decayed so badly that it may have to be removed, root canal treatment is used as the last resort to try and save it from being removed.
A root canal is a hollow space in the middle of a tooth. The nerves and soft pulp are present in this cavity. They are responsible for the sensation of a tooth, which includes sensing hotness and coldness of the food and water we consume. They are not really important and removing them only gets rid of the sensation. It isn't going to affect the strength or aesthetics of a tooth.
Need for a root canal treatment
When the nerves within the root canal suffer an infection, bacteria start to multiply with the chamber. This process could lead to severe infection and cause an abscessed tooth. An abscessed tooth is a condition where pus is formed at the base of a tooth. Some of the symptoms of root canal infection are:
- Swelling of the gums and the cheeks.
- Pain in the teeth while chewing.
- Sharp pain while eating something hot or cold.
- The release of pus from the base of the teeth.
- Bleeding gums.
- Loss of bone around the tip of the root.
- The x-ray of the tooth is taken to check for signs of infection. If the nerves in the root canal are found to be infected, the patient is prepared for the treatment.
- Local anesthesia is used to numb the gums around the infected tooth. In rare cases, it is avoided as the nerves in the tooth are dead. A sheet of rubber is placed around the tooth to keep it free from saliva.
- A hole is drilled into the tooth. Root canal files are used for the cleaning process. Files of various diameters are used to access all parts of the root canal. The pulp and nerves are removed. The walls of the root canal are scrubbed in order to remove the residual nerves and bacteria. Water is used to flush them out.
- The hole is then sealed using a filling. Sometimes, medication is introduced into the root canal in order to prevent further infection. It is removed and then sealed.
After the root canal treatment, restoration is carried out in order to strengthen the tooth. Most often, a crown is used to cover it in order to make it stronger and keep the filling intact. Some of the advantages of opting for a root canal and saving the natural tooth are:
- Protection of adjoining teeth from wear and decay.
- Prevention of infection in the gums.
- Helps retain normal bite force and sensation.
- Gives a natural appearance.
Root canal treatment is said to be painful as the removal of nerves is involved. Despite the complications and pain, root canal treatment has a high success rate, and the teeth fixed by this process are said to last a lifetime.
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