What is a Root Canal?
A Root Canal is a term for an endodontic treatment or procedure. Root canal treatment is necessary when the pulp also known as the nerve, inside the tooth becomes irreversibly damaged or infected. This irreversible damage is a result of combined injuries that occur over the life of the tooth (decay, trauma, multiple restorations). Root canal treatment is the removal of the entire pulp throughout the root canal system (a tooth can have several roots and a canal or two within those roots), the cleaning and shaping of the canal system, and filling the canals with a polyester synthetic root canal filling and a dental sealer.
Why is a Root Canal Treatment needed?
If the pulp becomes infected, the infection may spread through the root canal system of the tooth. This may eventually lead to an abscess. An abscess is an inflamed area in which pus collects and can cause swelling of the tissues around the tooth. The symptoms of an abscess can range from a dull ache to severe pain and the tooth may be tender when you bite. If the root canal treatment is not carried out the infection will spread and the tooth may need to be taken out.
Is the procedure painful?
With modern techniques and varied local anaesthetic solutions it is rare to have any sensation in the tooth during treatment. For the first few days after treatment, it is normal for your tooth to be sensitive to biting. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications to control normal post-treatment discomfort.
What does the treatment involve?
The aim of the treatment is to remove all the infection from the root canal. The root is then cleaned and filled to prevent any further infection.
Root canal treatment is a skilled and time-consuming procedure. Most courses of treatment will involve two or more visits to your dentist.
At the first appointment, the infected pulp is removed, and any abscess present is drained out. The canal is then cleaned and shaped ready to fill. A temporary filling is put in and the tooth is left to settle.
The tooth is checked at a later appointment and when all the infection is cleared, the tooth is permanently filled.
Will it hurt afterward?
In most cases the discomfort will subside dramatically within the first 24-48 hours. Any sensitivity to cold or hot will be gone after your visit. Nevertheless, you may experience mild discomfort to pressure that could last for a few days after treatment. Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory analgesics usually relieves this discomfort.
The most common predictor of post-treatment pain is pre-treatment pain. If the tooth is already hurting, the root canal procedure will remove the cause and allow healing to begin. During the first 72 – 96 hrs we will prescribe an analgesic regimen that should allow you to begin healing pain-free.
The most common complaint is tenderness to touch, bite, tapping or chewing on the tooth. It is always best to chew on the other side until a permanent restoration replaces the temporary restoration.
What if it happens again?
Root canal treatment is usually very successful. However, if the infection comes back, the treatment can sometimes be repeated.
What if I don’t have the treatment?
The alternative is to have the tooth out. Once the pulp is destroyed it can’t heal, and it is not recommended to leave an infected tooth in the mouth.
Although some people would prefer the tooth out, it is usually best to keep as many natural teeth as possible.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Versus Extraction
The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extraction may lead to other dental problems. For instance, drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ discomfort, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment to restore the missing tooth. No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is a good as your natural tooth.
What about post treatment care?
Root-treated teeth should be treated just the same as any other tooth. Remember to clean your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on sugary food and drinks, and keep them only to mealtimes if possible. See your dentist at least once in 6 months for a regular check up.
Approximate pricing of Root canal treatment?
Root Canal prices start from INR 1675/- Approximately